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A KARELIAN RUNO SINGER, 




PEEPS AT MANY LANDS 



FINLAND 



BY 





M. PEARSON THOMSON 



WITH TWELVE FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS 
IN COLOUR 



ALLAN STEWART, ALEXANDER 

FEDERLEY, VERNON STOKES, 

AND ALAN WRIGHT 



LONDON 
ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK 

1909 



TO 
MY FRIEND 

M. C. H. 

IN MEMORY OF OUR 
HAPPY WANDERINGS IN FINLAND 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGB 

I. A PEEP AT ITS HISTORY I 

II. THE LAND OF A THOUSAND LAKES (l.) . . 6 

III. THE LAND OF A THOUSAND LAKES (ll,) . ,12 

IV. CHARACTERISTICS AND CUSTOMS . . . 19 
V. FOLK-LORE AND LEGENDS 25 

VI. THE LAPPS AND THEIR WAYS . . . - 3 2 

VII. IMATRA RAPIDS WATERFALLS . . - 39 

VIII. FARM AND PASTORAL LIFE . . ' * 47 

IX. RELIGION MUSIC ART 53 

X. TOWNS AND VILLAGES ..... 60 
XI. SCHOOL AND HOLIDAY TIME IN STRAWBERRY- 
LAND 68 

XII. SPORTS AND PASTIMES . . . . 7$ 

xni. THE PEOPLE'S EMPLOYMENTS . . . .82 



A, Federlcy 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

ARTIST, 

A KARELIAN RUNG SINGER . Allan Stewart . 

ABO CATHEDRAL AND MARKET 

BOATS 

SA1MA CANAL .... 

FLOATING TIMBER 

COUNTRY DANCE 

A LAPP READY FOR A PULKA RIDE 

RAPIDS IN THE ULEA RIVER 

"SVEDJK" BURNING THE FOREST Allan Stewart 

GIRLS ON THE WAY TO CHURCH 



Front isfi 

PACING PA 

. v 



Allan Stewart 
Vernon Stokes and 

Alan Wright . 
A. Fedwlcy 



HELSINGFORS 
CHILDREN ON SKIS 
SKI JUMPING 



A. Fedcvley 

Allan Stewart 



Sketch-Map of Finland on page vili 



VII 




SKETCH-MAP OF FINLAND 



FINLAND 

CHAPTER I 

A PEEP AT ITS HISTORY 

I AM sure you think Finland a small, out-of-the- 
way place, Inaccessible in summer and Impossible 
in winter to any but the Laplander or Esquimaux ! 
Nothing of the kind. It is true that its waters are 
ice-bound in the winter, but a passage is kept open 
by ice-breaking steamers between England and the 
Finnish ports of Abo and Hango ; you can there- 
fore reach this beautiful land at any time of the 
year, 

If you would enjoy a unique experience, you 
must go there in the winter, and steam through the 
crashing thunder of breaking ice to reach the 
" Land of Heroes/' as Finland Is called by Its 
people. In summer it Is a land of midnight sun 
warm, even hot, days, beautiful woodland and forest 
scenery, exquisite sunsets, sunpy lakes, cool, shaded 
streams, and every modern means of travel. Its 
numerous attractions of scenery and sport draw 

FI. x 



Finland 

many Englishmen and others to its shores every 
summer, also in winter for its amusing skating, 
sleighing, ski-ing (snow-shoeing), and all kinds of 
winter games. Finland is called " Suomi " in 
Finnish, which means " marsh-land," and because 
of its numberless waters it is also called. " The Land 
of a Thousand Lakes/ 7 although there arc actually 
many more than that. 

Few countries possess so many attractive names 
as Finland does. The children call it " Strawberry 
Land," because of its bountiful supply of this 
fruit ; others, again, call it " The Land of a Thou- 
sand Isles/' on account of the multitude of fir-clad 
islands scattered throughout its waters. I like the 
title of " Land of Heroes " best, and you will 
agree with me when I tell you about the Finns* 
brave struggle to keep their country (and language), 
although it is a border State between two greater 
Powers, Finland lies on the north-east shores of 
the Baltic Sea. It is bounded by the Gulf of 
Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland, and on the land side 
its boundaries are Russia, Norway and Sweden, as 
you will see by your map. 

" It is water I want, not land/' said a Czar ; so 
you may suppose what the people of Finland 
suffered between Sweden and Russia before the 
latter got possession of the Finnish ports. Little 
is known of the history of Finland or its people 

2 



A Peep at its History 

before the twelfth century, when King Eric of 
Sweden invaded the land with the avowed object 
of Christianizing the people. He was accompanied 
by Archbishop Henry, an Englishman, who con- 
verted and baptized the Finns at Abo, the capital 
at that time. 

Many Swedes followed their King, and settled on 
the South Coast of Finland as well as on the islands 
near its borders. Grants of land were given to 
many Swedish nobles by the King, to encourage 
settlement in this newly acquired territory. The 
Finns benefited largely by the Swedish laws and 
by contact with a more cultured nation, whose 
language they soon learned. Finland thus became 
a province of Sweden, who was able to keep her 
for six centuries against Russian invasion. These 
six centuries, however, were anything but peaceful 
ones for either Swede or Finn, for Russia was de- 
termined to get the mastery of the Baltic Sea and 
Finland's good shipping ports. So war soon broke 
out between Russia and Sweden, and the fighting 
continued, with intervals, for many long years. 
These were years of suffering and famine for the 
poor Finns. Fire and sword wrought destruction 
on this beautiful border country, the Finns being 
wellnigh crushed between the two Powers and their 
constant warfare. 

Russia finally annexed Finland in 1808, by crossing 

i 2 



Finland 

the frontier (while Sweden was engaged, in the wars 
with Napoleon), on the pretext that the ports had 
not been closed against possible invaders. 

The Finns were now left to defend themselves 
against Russia, Sweden being unable then to send 
reinforcements. However, they bravely held their 
own for some time, and the story of their skirmish- 
ing warfare on the various islands and lakes makes 
thrilling reading for boys. Alexander L, who was 
then Czar, did not wait for the end of this war, 
but proceeded to treat with the Finns, promising 
them independence for their country by a union 
with Russia. This the Finns, after a Icing struggle, 
finally agreed to, realizing the impassibility of re- 
taining their independence under Sweden, when 
Russia, the stronger Power, was for ever waging war 
upon the land. In this they did the best possible 
for their country, Finland having prospered under 
Russia, owing to the cessation of wars. In 1809 
the Finlanders took the oath of allegiance to 
Alexander L, and he became Grand Duke of fin- 
land, Sweden ceding to Russia all her rights. By 

this Act of Union Finland's liberties as an inde- 
pendent State were guaranteed, special privileges 
being granted to the people which are much valued 

by them. The Finns are a very law-abiding, peace- 
loving nation, patriotic before all else, and very 
tenacious of their liberties. 



A Peep at its History 

You must understand that the Finnish nation 
is composed chiefly of two races. The Svekoman is 
the descendant o the old Swedish settlers, while 
the Finoman is the true Finn and the original 
inhabitant of the land. These two races unite in 
calling themselves Finns, and combine to uphold 
their country's liberties and its language. Finnish 
is now the recognized official language ; but for- 
merly, when Finland was a province of Sweden, the 
prevailing language was Swedish, Finnish being 
very, little spoken. 

The determination of the Finns to maintain their 
country as an independent State, having its laws 
respected by Russia, has not succeeded without an 
occasional struggle. Although they are the Czar's 
most loyal subjects, there exists still constant 
friction between the Finns and the Russian officials 
placed over them, as the latter frequently ignore 
the Finnish laws. 

Alexander II. was the monarch who did most for 
Finland, and always respected its laws. This Czar 
habitually visited the Grand Duchy in his yacht, 
the arrival of which was always hailed with delight 
by the loyal, warm-hearted Finns. As soon as 
the Imperial yacht anchored, small boats of every 
description might be seen skimming over the water, 
carrying peasants with offerings of flowers and fruit 
for their beloved Grand Duke. 

S 



Although t inland is a little larger than Great 
Britain and Ireland combined, it possessed now 
neither army nor navy of its own ! The* Finns, how- 
ever, pay a large sum annually to Russia for home 
defence. It was a terrible calamity to Finland 
when Its army was disbanded by the Czar. This 
punishment was in consequence of their refusing 
to serve in Russian regiments, or to bo officered. 
by Russians, as doing so would be breaking Finnish 
law. To be obliged to serve their country in a 
civil capacity only must: be galling to these gallant 
soldiers of Finland, who., I am sure, will have the 
sympathy of every freedom-loving Briton* 



CHAPTER II 

THE LAND OF A THOUSAND LAKES 
I 

How delightful this title sounds on a hot summer 
day, when a sail on the bosom of these wondrous 
blue waters, enjoying the sweet-scented, pine-laden 
air, seems the most inviting thing to do in the world ! 
You might sail for days and weeks ? always finding 
something fresh to amuse and attract you on these 

6 



The Land of a Thousand Lakes 

wonderful lakes, which have been known and used 
as important waterways since the Middle Ages. 
About a tenth part of Finland, strange as it: may 
sound, consists of water ! Nowhere else could you 
find such a marvellous combination of land and 
water, tree and rock scenery. The summer -days 
in Finland are very long. The month of June, 
indeed, has no night, so birds, beasts, and flowers 
forget to go to bed, and little children sleep when 
they are tired. The State combines also with 
Nature, by having no schools open after May until 
September, to make this land of " White Night " 
a happy holiday- time. 

The lakes, with their wooded islands, are the 
favourite summer resort of the Finlanders as well 
as the Russians, both of whom have their country 
villas on them* These give a bright, picturesque 
effect to the landscape. You, perhaps, might like 
these waterways in winter, when they are all 
frozen, and are used as the highroad to every- 
where. Then your journey to market or school 
is made in sleigh or on skis, and you realize 
what fairyland is like in its shimmering, winter 
dress. 

Let us start on a tour of Investigation, and have 
a peep at these unsurpassed waterways we, here in 
England, know so little about. We start from 
Viborg, the little garrison town on the Gulf of 

7 



Finland 

Finland, near the Russian frontier, taking our 

steamer at the quay. This is the starting-point for 

the interesting and famous Saima Canal. This 

canal is the work of a Swedish engineer named 

Ericson. It took eleven years to construct, but 

the cost was comparatively small, as granite, 

the principal material,, lay at hand. This marvel 

of engineering skill is famous throughout the 

world. It is thirty-seven miles long, and thousands 

of vessels pass through it, laden with exports and 

imports, taking their cargoes to and from the Gulf 

of Finland and the interior of the country. The 

Saima Lake, to which this canal leads, is nearly 

300 feet above sea-level, the vessels being raised 

by means of numerous locks, of which there arc 

twenty-eight. In some places they are together 

in groups of four, rising above each other like giant 

steps. If you are lucky enough to see two or three 

steamers going through these locks at the same time, 

you will then have a curious and interesting 

spectacle, as the funnel of the steamer in the lowest 

lock will be on a level with the keel of the vessel 

in the highest, and the effect will be as of ships 

walking upstairs ! 

You may go ashore and amuse yourself on the 
beautiful banks of the canal while your steamer per- 
forms this feat, as it takes some time. It is interest- 
ing to see the water pour through the gates while 

8 



The Land of a Thousand Lakes 

the boat slowly rises and majestically steps up into the 
next lock. You must also notice the construction 
of these magnificent locks, which are so splendidly- 
built of massive blocks of the Finnish granite, which 
is scattered throughout the land in gigantic boulders. 
The canal banks are covered with beautiful wild 
flowers, together with ferns of all kinds, the pine 
forests making a cool, inviting background ; but do 
not stray too far, or you will get beyond the sound 
of the three whistles which is to warn you of your 
captain's readiness to depart ! On board you will 
find many Finnish and Russian children, who are 
on the way to their country homes for the holidays, 
The youthful Finn will differ in ways and costume 
from his Russian comrade, who almost invariably 
wears a semi-military uniform. Both Finn and 
Russian are excellent linguists, speaking three or 
four languages, English generally being one, so you 
will find no difficulty in understanding them. The 
beautiful villas and pretty cottages you notice along 
the banks of the canal, with their charming gardens, 
are the country homes of these youths. The 
scenes of busy life at the different locks are interest- 
ing, with passengers hurrying to and fro, greeting 
their friends under difficulties, as they are laden 
with various domestic packages. Here comes a 
country girl, in her quaint costume, with a birch 
basket of farm produce for the captain ; there a 
FI. 9 



Finland 

boy who has left his sheep in charge of his dog, 

while he takes a look at the steamer, with all its 

interesting load. This, no doubt, is the event of 

the day, and the country folk come down to get 

their packets and letters, also to hear the news,, 

which has changed for the better since the old days 

of Swedish rule, when the news was always " war." 

Two enormous granite obelisks have been erected^ 

one on either side of the canal. They bear the names 

of Nicholas I. and Alexander IL, in whose reigns 

the canal was commenced and completed. Mon 

Repos is an estate which is celebrated, for it is 

said to reproduce in miniature typical, Finnish 

scenery in its house and grounds. We pass many 

timber-laden barges on their way to the coast, 

The heavy scent of timber fills the air as they 

slowly glide by ; the fussy little tugs, though slow, 

giving the bargemen plenty of work at the helm. 

At the last -lock we say good-bye to the Russian 
boys, who have informed us that their dress is the 
uniform of their Lyceum, for in every Russian 
public school a semi-military uniform is obligatory. 
Starting again, we realize with regret that our 
long, happy day on this interesting canal is drawing 
to a close. Our progress has been slow, as the 
steamer's only fuel is wood, but the enjoyment 
has been such that we would not have it otherwise. 
Finally, we sight the Saima Lake in the distance, 
10 



The Land of a Thousand Lakes 

as we steam through a long, narrow gorge, which 
must have taxed all the powers of the engineer to 
cut through, for it is solid rock. 

The intense, velvety blue of the Saima Lake is 
the first thing that impresses one : it is bluer than 
the sky aboveat least, so it seemsfor the vivid 
azure of its water is beyond description ; and this 
exquisite colouring is one of the beauties for which 
the lake is renowned. As our steamer wends its 
intricate way, rounding the countless wooded 
islands scattered over the lake's surface, you wonder 
at the captain's marvellous steering powers, as the 
deep-water channel is so narrow* After a few miles 
we arrive at the little garrison town of Villman- 
strand. Here many of our fellow-passengers leave 
the steamer for the Falls of Imatra, and the boat 
waits for a few hours to take in cargo, passengers,, 
and a fresh supply of fuel. It is rather amusing 
to watch the fuel-wood come aboard. It is carried 
by men, women, and children, who surprise you 
by the rapidity with which they make the huge 
stack on the quay disappear. 

This bright, clean-looking town, with its beautiful 
environment and famous fortress, has a large 
garrison, and the Russian soldiers are fortunate 
who are quartered here. 

The villa on the hill, in its charming grounds, 
belongs to the Czar, who is Grand Duke of Finland, 

II 22 



Finland 

and often comes here In the summer. Its entire 
furniture is of Finnish manufacture. 

Waiting on the quay is a smart Russian carriage, 
with its splendid pair of black horses and remarkably 
gorgeous coachman, attired in a crimson-and-gold 
Russian blouse and black Astrakhan cap and feathers. 
His mistress, who arrived by our boat, has her villa 
here. Finland is to Russia what Scotland is to 
England the fashionable summer resort of the 
wealthy. Early in June the Russian goes to his 
villa in Finland for fishing, shooting, rest, and 
change, much as the Englishman goes to Scotland. 
This is why we see so much of the Russians and their 
fine equipages in our summer travels in this country. 



CHAPTER III 

THE LAND OF A THOUSAND LAKES 
II 

VILLMANSTRAND being only the beginning of the 
lakes, we pursue our way, leaving the little town, 
with its atmosphere of quiet order, in the evening- 
time a fortunate 'occurrence, as we shall now see 
the beautiful sunset on these waters. The sense of 

12 



The Land of a Thousand Lakes 

restfulness which steals over you as, sitting comfort- 
ably ensconced In a lounge-chair on deck, you con- 
template your surroundings is very refreshing, 
Nature seems to be waiting for something as the 
sun dips and sets straight in front of you : not a 
ripple, not a sound, except the soft cutting of the 
boat's prow through the limpid water* The 
glorious colouring of the sunset, though vivid, is 
almost too elusive. If each phase would only wait 
till you had it indelibly fixed within your book of 
memories ! Alas ! this it will not do : changing, 
ever changing in colour till you are bewildered 
by its grandeur and the lake of molten gold beneath 
it orange, gold, crimson, and rose-pink fading 
gradually to a pearly grey, the colours in turn 
glinting through the trees' dark trunks and throw- 
ing long shafts of light upon the water, which, in 
its turn, reflects a delicate iridescent sheen, A 
soft radiance envelops the scene, as, with tranquil 
calm, the Northern summer night settles down 
upon the land. This is not night, as we understand 
it, but merely a softened twilight, the " mother-of- 
pearl " shimmer on the water only disappearing 
with the dawn, which very quickly dispels this 
fascinating scene. 

The memory of this entrancing spectacle is good 
to retire upon, so we go below to our comfortable 
little cabins, and are soon asleep. 

13 



Finland 

Next morning we awake to find ourselves 

alongside the quay of the little town of Nyslott. 

Though early, the place is all bustle, there being 

half a dozen steamers in, having their cargoes 

carried on shore, also their fuel-wood replenished. 

The market-place being also on the quay accounts 

for some of the stir. This little town has a history. 

The old Castle of Olafsborg, situated on its own 

small island, surrounded by foaming waters, could 

tell many a harrowing tale of the wars between 

Sweden and Russia. It was built in 1475, and 

maintained a garrison until the middle of the last 

century, and stands now as a national memorial. 

This town being built on a group of islands, quaint 
bridges connect them, suggesting a Japanese scene, 
with its sharp outlines and myriad reflections in 
the calm waters. Viewed from the Hungerborg 
Tower by moonlight, it is a veritable dreamland. 

The Bishop's palace stands on the hill overlooking 
Olafsbad the famous medicinal baths of the place, 
which have become quite celebrated, and stand on 
their own pretty island, with their casino and band- 
stand. In the season this is a gay little town, 

Punkaharju, renowned for its curious formation 
and remarkable beauty, is about two hours* sail 
from here. It consists of a high, narrow peninsula, 
five and a half miles long, rising abruptly from the 
water's edge at the end, and sloping on either side. 

14 



The Land of a Thousand Lakes 

The name In Finnish signifies " hog's back," which 
describes the narrow ridge, only wide enough at 
the top for a driving road. Tall, straight pine- 
trees clothe the sides and form a canopy overhead. 
This promenade is solitary, but beautiful,, with Its 
exquisite and varying peeps of the surrounding 
lake scenery as seen through the trees. This en- 
chanted land of water, trees, and rocks, though in 
substance ever the same, presents strikingly fresh 
views at every turn of our intricate way. 

The scenes at the different piers give us an In- 
teresting glimpse of the life of the people. A 
blast from the steamer's whistle Informs the neigh- 
bourhood of our approach, and the peasants make 
for the landing-stage,, either through curiosity or 
business instincts. The pier - " master/' who is 
often a young woman, with dainty white or bright- 
coloured handkerchief tied over her head. Is assisted 
in mooring the boat by one of our sailors, who 
jumps on the quay almost before we are alongside. 
Numerous clean-looking, flaxen-haired children, with 
wondering, round eyes, timidly tender their quaint 
birch-baskets of delicious wild strawberries, which 
they have gathered in the woods, in the hope of 
making a few pence. Old women come with cakes, 
loaves, and sweetmeats, farm produce, or a little 
of their own knitting or embroidery, to sell to the 
passengers. The aprons these women wear are 



Finland 

conspicuously bright with coloured needlework. 
The bulky fuel of birch and pine logs must be fre- 
quently renewed, for ours, though slow, is a very 
hungry steamer. Steerage passengers sometimes 
assist at this work when labourers are scarce on 
shore, and for this service they are carried free. 
Occasionally large packing-cases, containing an 
American organ or a piano, are put ashore, while we 
take on kegs of butter, a child's rocking-horse of 
homely make, and sad sight ! a tiny white coffin, 
which is taken off at the next landing-place by a 
sorrowful-looking man. The life on the water is 
teeming with interest. Great rafts of timber, with 
the lumber-men living in a little hut on them, float 
down to the saw-mills and shipping-ports ; whilst 
sometimes several rafts are chained together and 
taken down by a small tug. Half the nation lives 
by the timber trade in fact, so much wood do we 
pass in a day that we fear an end must soon come to 
the vast forests ; and the aromatic, pungent smell 
which fills the air as the hot sun streams upon these 
pine-rafts seems almost overpowering, 

This timber is thrown into the rivers, to be carried 
down by the current to the different collecting- 
stations. It is cut down in the winter and brought 
to the water-side on sleighs, but often it takes 
over three years to reach the collecting-point. 
So thick are these pine-boles in the water that 

16 



The Land of a Thousand Lakes 

sometimes the steamer is obliged to go dead slow. 
Even then they occasionally catch in the screw. 
When this happens, a sailor must descend into the 
little boat we drag behind us, and with a long pole* 
axe knock the bole free. This proceeding appears 
somewhat dangerous, as the little boat wobbles,, and 
the logs constantly knock against it, while the 
man's efforts seem likely to precipitate him into 
the water at any moment. To the passengers, 
however, it is an exciting experience, and we 
wonder what the boles will do next, as they 
bob under the steamer and sail away, or roll on 
the top of their neighbours, making them do the 
bobbing. 

The farmsteads, with their bright red painted 
buildings, give a cheerful aspect to the landscape, 
and the distant lowing of the cattle, with the 
tinkle of their bells, though we are " in the wilds/ 3 
make us feel very much at home. The soft chatter 
of our fellow-passengers which, we do not under- 
stand makes us realize, however, that we are very 
far away from it. 

Sometimes we pass a busy saw-mill, whose tearing 
screech disturbs the peaceful quiet, or a horse ferry- 
boat being towed across, with its load of wheeled 
traffic, to the opposite bank. These boats are much 
used by the Finns when narrow places occur in the 
lakes, in order to avoid the longer road journey, 

FI. 17 3 



Finland 

All Finland's waters are tidelcss, including the 
Baltic Sea. 

Very noticeable is the water-line at the base of 
the rocky islands, as of a receding tide, marking 
distinctly a difference of nearly 2 feet, thus proving 
that Finland is still rising out of the water. This 
is why she is called a The last-born Daughter 
of the Sea." This fact is especially apparent 
in the North. Where ships sailed formerly? 
only a canoe can now find sufficient water to 
float it ! 

The ramifications of these waterways are quite 
puzzling, and we are surprised when we are landed 
at our destination, Kuopio. Although the channel 
is marked in some places by bobbing barrels 
with brooms stuck into them, splashes of white- 
wash on rocks, and such-like, in the narrow places? 
yet there are many stretches of open water not 
marked, and we have turned and twisted so fre- 
quently that we almost expect to find ourselves at 
the place we started from. 



18 



Characteristics and Customs 



CHAPTER IV 

CHARACTERISTICS AND CUSTOMS 

PERSONAL cleanliness seems to take first place with 
the Finns ; therefore the most important building 
of every country-house and farmstead is the bath- 
house. This is built apart from the dwelling-house, 
of pine-logs, on a foundation of stones and moss, 
with a thatched or wooden, moss-covered roof. 
The interior of this building is peculiar, having on 
one side a curious, stove-like arrangement, built 
round with large, loose stones ; on the other side 
a series of wooden platforms, one above another, or, 
as an alternative, canvas hammocks are used. These 
platforms and hammocks are for the bathers to 
lie upon. Every morning in the summer, and every 
Saturday in winter, a fire of wood is lighted in the 
stove ; then, when the stones are hot, water is 
thrown on them to make the steam. This is done at 
intervals during the day, while the fire is kept going 
merrily, and by evening the Finnish sauna is 
ready. So hot is this vapour-bath that it would 
be intolerable to English people, but Finns enjoy 
it perhaps more than anything else. In the even- 
ing the whole household marches into the sauna, 

19 32 



Finland 

lie on the platforms, and beat themselves with 
bunches of little birch-twigs, to encourage per- 
spiration and stimulate the circulation. These 
bath-whisks are made of the birch-twigs which are 
gathered in the early summer, when the leaves are 
soft. They are steeped in hot water before use, 
and this makes them pliable and fragrant ; so the 
perfume of the bath-house is very invigorating 
when many little whisks are going at once. The 
floor is covered with clean straw, on which the 
children delight in dancing, whipping each other 
the while with their aromatic birch-rods ! When 
they have perspired sufficiently, they sit in turn on 
a chair, and are washed down by a woman, who 
also gives them a little massage. Then helter- 
skelter for the lake, into which they plunge, swim- 
ming about for cool refreshment, or, in winter, 
when the lake is frozen, they roll themselves in the 
snow ! I dare say you would think this part of the 
performance anything but inviting. The little 
Finn, however, thinks it glorious fun ! This bath 
is also used medicinally. In cases of fever or illness 
it is most beneficial, and considered by some to be 
an antidote for every ill. In town-houses the bath- 
room is much the same as ours, except that the 
boiler is heated by a stove in the room. Plenty of 
public baths exist, which are much patronized, as 
no Finn, however poor, would forgo his Saturday 



Characteristics and Customs 

bath; nor does lie think he is capable of washing 
himself, so a bath-woman is a necessity to him. 
She scrubs him down with soft brush and soap in 
place of the fragrant birch-twigs ! 

Although with the Finlanders cleanliness seems 
to come first, their religious life is not neglected. 
The Finns still keep up many old traditions and 
customs to which they are attached. When parting 
with friends, they always give flowers, and fellow- 
travellers benefit by these pretty bouquets, for 
their scent pervades boat and train. Midsummer 
is their greatest festival, as well as the most curious. 
Great branches of birch are cut down, and the 
houses, inside and out, are decorated liberally 
with them. In towns the shops and streets are 
dressed with garlands and birch-boughs hung from 
door to door, as well as from the lamp-posts. No 
one thinks of sleep, and darkness does not come to 
remind them of it. On this the 24th day of June 
St. John the Baptist's Day the kokko fires are 
lighted on every hill-top, island, lake-side, and even 
on the lake itself, on rafts or floats ; every farm- 
stead and country-house must have a huge bonfire 
on its highest ground the bigger the better. This 
is an old pagan custom, and these " Baal " fires are 
lighted in honour of the sun the miracle-worker 
of the farmer. The people sing and dance around 
the fires, keeping them blazing for twenty-four 

21 



Finland 

hours, though they show but little brilliancy, be- 
cause of the continuous daylight. In this way? 
and by feasting, story-telling, and other amuse- 
ments, the time is passed. The festive meal on 
this occasion consists of creamy soup, cold salmon, 
and every kind of sweet cake. 

Lovers particularly enjoy this festival, and many 
betrothals take place. They go off in parties in boats, 
or wander into the fields, twine different coloured 
wools round the rye-stems, arranging the colours 
to indicate joy or sorrow, love or hate ; then 
before harvest-time they revisit the fields, look for 
their marked rye-stalks, and whichever is the 
highest, whether " love " or " hate," " joy " or 
" sorrow," so will their fortune be till next Mid- 
summer's Day. May Day is also a festival to wel- 
come the beginning of summer. Bands begin 
playing early in the morning, and the streets are 
crowded with pleasure-seekers. The May Day 
drink of mjod, also the sweet cake called strupa, are 
given freely to all. 

The last Tuesday in February is a holiday for 
the boys and girls, who have picnics, starting off on 
skis and skates for a day's outing. Their meal on 
this occasion consists of hot milk and buns spread 
with almond-paste. On the return in the evening 
they have a carnival or masked ball. 

On birthdays, or " name-days," the breakfast- 

22 



Characteristics and Customs 

table Is beautifully decorated with flowers in sum- 
mer, leaves and berries in winter, by the children 
of the house, who always try to find new ideas for 
their decorations. The chair of the birthday child 
is dressed with birch-boughs ; if it is a parent's 
name-day, then the porch of the house is festooned 
with birch-branches as well. There are also many 
interesting Christmas customs. On Christmas Eve 
corn and food are spread on the snow for the birds 
and wild animals, for it is believed that these crea- 
tures can speak on this one night in the year ! 
If you listen intently behind the closed doors, you 
will be able to understand what they say, and find 
out their views of life in general and man in par- 
ticular, so the Finns think. Another custom on 
this Eve is to wrap the presents securely in paper, 
with the name of the recipient on them accom- 
panied by a verse, and these are flung through the 
door of the sitting-room where the family is 
gathered. Each name is called as the parcel is 
thrown. Even the dog is not forgotten, a piece of 
meat being wrapped up for him, and when his 
name is called, he runs for his packet, tearing it 
open, and devouring it with glee. Supper consists 
of codfish and rice-porridge on this night. 

On New Year's Eve the young men and maidens 
try to obtain a glimpse Into the future by melting 
lead in a big spoon over the wood embers in the 



Finland 

stove. When melted, it is poured into a pail of 
cold water, and in the grotesque figures produced 
the future may be read. An almond is also hidden 
in the rice-porridge, and he or she who finds it 
will be married before the end of the year. 

The Finns are very hospitable and kind, but seem 
rather inquisitive, though this may be due to their 
innate love of progress. They never willingly lose 
an opportunity of improvement, and they realize 
that much knowledge may be gained by question- 
ing strangers. It is customary for all men and 
boys to wear a sheathed knife,' called a pukko, which 
is worn hanging from a belt round the waist. 
This is used as a pocket-knife, its leather sheath 
being often very prettily ornamented with various 
patterns in gilding and colour, and the end always 
tipped with brass. 

The Finns hold the mountain-ash, or rowan-tree, 
sacred. The oak, too, is treasured most likely 
because it is difficult to grow in Finland. The 
twigs of juniper-trees are burned in the houses in 
the evening, to get rid of mosquitoes and other 
insects. The children often have to walk many 
miles to find these twigs, as they only grow on clay 
soil. 

Finns generally dine at four o'clock, so if you 
would pay a call on a friend you must do so between 
the hours of twelve and three. They are always 

24 



Characteristics and Customs 

pleased to see you, and while you chat you are given 
refreshment, consisting of coffee and cakes, or a 
delicious fruit like a large melon, of a deep pink 
colour inside, with black seeds, together with a 
tiny glass of home-made wine. This fruit is grown 
in the Crimea, is very luscious, and of a delicate 
flavour, and much appreciated in Finland. 

The sofa in a Finnish drawing-room is reserved 
for honoured and married lady guests, the right- 
hand corner being given to the lady of highest rank 
present. Nothing would induce a young maiden 
to occupy a seat on the sofa, lest she should in 
consequence bring upon herself the ill-luck of 
spinsterhood for life ! 



CHAPTER V 

FOLK-LORE AND LEGENDS 

THE children of this poetic, song-loving nation are 
more interested in the old mythical character-stories, 
of their country and the wonderful deeds of daring 
of their heroes than in the modern fairy-tale. 
Goblin and witch have some fascination for those 
who like " creepy " stories, but the happiest of 
evenings are spent by the majority of the people 
FI. 25 4 



Finland 

in listening to the runo singers. The runos are 
stories in form of poems or ballads, and are the tra- 
ditional history of the people, mixed with a good 
deal that is legendary and fictitious. From time 
immemorial these stories in ballad form have been 
handed down by the runo singers, each generation 
increasing the bulk by adding any thrilling episode 
or experience that happened to themselves or others 
in their lifetime. 

Some of these old singers can remember over 
3,000 runos, so marvellous are their memories ; and 
so rhythmical and musical are these curious old 
stories that they can only be told in the form of a 
song. The value of these interesting ballads lies 
in their antiquity so old are they that their 
origin is lost in obscurity and in the glimpse they 
give us of the lives and work of the people in olden 
times. 

Let us join this circle of happy village folk who 
have gathered round the great wood-fire on a cold 
winter's evening to listen to the runo singer, for 
we should also like to hear the tales of their heroes. 
The runo singer sits in the middle of the circle, 
chanting her story, monotonously at first, in a low 
minor key, but when she has warmed to her song 
by its more thrilling incidents, the firelight flickers 
over the excited and often weird face of an inspired 
bard. The children in the assembly, as a great 

26 



Folk-lore and Legends 

treat, are allowed to take it in turn to replenish the 
fire by throwing on the birch-logs every few minutes, 
as these burn very quickly. Vainamoinen, she 
sings, is the greatest bard, enchanter, sage, prophet, 
and patriarch, while as a minstrel he is unequalled ; 
his wisdom is beyond knowledge. From the bones 
of a giant pike he made the first harp, playing on 
it with such marvellous effect that beasts, birds, and 
all Nature stood still to listen. In spite of his 
wisdom, however, poor Vainamoinen, who is the 
good genius of his country, is very unfortunate in 
his love-affairs. He woos a beautiful maiden called 
Aino (whose name is a favourite one for Finnish 
girls), but she thinks he is too old, so will not marry 
him. When forced to do so by her mother, poor 
Aino becomes crazed, wanders through the forest 
gaily dressed, and eventually drowns herself in a 
lake. So the wedding does not take place, after 
all ! Later, he makes another attempt to wed, and 
chooses the daughter of Louhi, who is the mistress 
of Lapland ; but he is equally unsuccessful, as she 
refuses him. 

Ilmarinen, the wonderful blacksmith, is the chil- 
dren's favourite hero, and the faces of the whole 
group become strangely animated at his deeds of 
daring. The men's fierce, weather-beaten faces 
blaze with pride in and sympathy with this hero's 
adventures, and as the pine-logs flare up, they clasp 

27 42 



Finland 

each other's hands tighter, making a most impressive 
picture of tense emotional manhood. To these 
people this is no ordinary tale, but the celebrating 
and keeping alive the memory of their ancestors. 
Ilmarinen was the most skilful and ingenious of 
blacksmiths, a craftsman to be proud of. The 
weapons he made, his adventurous deeds of strength 
and daring, would fill a book. Young, handsome, 
and attractive, it is not surprising that Louhi's 
daughter, the " Rainbow Maiden," should prefer 
him to the wiser, but older, Vainamoinen. Though 
Louhi gave him plenty of hard tasks to perform 
before she consented to her daughter's marriage 
with him, still, he managed to satisfy her, and in 
the end carried off the Rainbow Maiden for his 
bride. 

Such a wedding-feast as they had ! Rich and 
poor, young and old, were invited to the festivities ; 
the whole of Pohjola * took part in it. The ox 
that was slain was large enough to wave its tail in 
one province and bellow in another ! The wedding- 
hall was of gigantic dimensions ; the feasting and 
song went on for days. The farewell of the Rain- 
bow Maiden to her childhood's home was very 
pathetic. Ilmarinen's most difficult task had been 
the forging of the magic samfio, which was a " coin, 
corn, and salt-mill," and could grind out good 
* Lapland. 

28 



Folk-lore and Legends 

fortune for the lucky possessor. Naturally, Louhi 
treasured this sampo, and hid it away securely. 
Vainamoinen and others were very anxious to obtain 
possession of this lucky talisman, so, taking ship, 
visited Pohjola. On arriving there, Vainamoinen 
lulled Louhi and her Court to sleep with his magic 
harp. While they slept, these heroes stole the 
treasure, then made for the ship ; but Louhi, 
waking up, followed them. Finding she could not 
again get possession of the sampo, she spitefully 
broke it in the struggle, when most of it fell into 
the sea. Vainamoinen, however, managed to secure 
a few fragments, carrying them back to Finland, 
and this is why to-day Finland is a better country 
to live in than Lapland, as the former had the 
fragments, consequently luck and prosperity. 

Lemminkainen is the next hero a jovial, reckless 
personage, who, though he loves his mother very 
much, gives her many a pang by his terrible pro- 
pensity for getting into scrapes, and his quarrel- 
some, rollicking ways. His mother frequently saves 
him from the result of his own evil-doing, for his 
adventures are many, and fraught with danger, 
even of death ; but his mother's love is so great and 
wonderful that she is enabled to resuscitate him. 
His affection for his mother is the redeeming feature 
of his character, and as she is not exacting, she feels 
fully repaid for all her trouble by his decision to 

29 



Finland 

give up his careless ways, and live with her in her 
old age. 

Now you shall hear of the wicked hero, Kullervo, 
a morose slave of gigantic strength. He is a shep- 
herd, and misuses his strength on every occasion to 
mar all he touches. He takes a terrible revenge on 
all his supposed enemies, but his wickedness is 
not so severely punished as one could wish, after 
all the havoc he has wrought, for he finally dies in 
the forest, after falling on his own sword. 

There are many stories of heroines, also. Aino, the 
beautiful young Lapp girl, whose pathetic fate would 
move any heart in the telling, and who is mourned 
for many a long day by her disconsolate mother and 
lover. Then come Ilmatar, the powerful, and Mar- 
jatta, the petted and spoiled darling of her home, 
who became the mother of a wise hero, Vaina- 
moinen's successor. Louhi, the mistress of the 
North, was a strong and powerful character, able 
always to hold her own. Legends of witches and 
furies, forest deities, beasts, birds, and trees, take 
their part in these ballads, and the magic-working 
heroes use all Nature to illustrate their own prowess 
and the glories of their country. Now, with a sigh 
of regret from all, Paraske, who is a celebrated 
runo singer, brings her song to a conclusion, with 
a twang of her ancient stringed instrument called 
a kantole, which she has only occasionally used. 

3 



Folk-lore and Legends 

The circle is broken, and our interesting evening 
ended. 

These runos now form the national epic of Fin- 
land, having been collected by Elias Lonnrot and 
given to the world in book-form, with the title of 
" Kalevala," or Land of Heroes. Lonnrot, of 
whom the nation is justly proud, realized the value 
of these folk-tales, and set to work to make a syste- 
matic collection of them. He tramped all over the 
country listening to the runo singers, taking down 
in writing the wonderful store of ballads they could 
give him from memory. His devotion to this task has 
given to folk-lorists all over the world this beautiful 
national epic of Finland, which he pieced together 
from the memories of hundreds of runo singers. It 
was from the German translation of the " Kalevala " 
that Longfellow obtained the metre for his " Hia- 
watha," recently so beautifully set to music by 
Coleridge-Taylor, who has given us the true 
musical rhythm of it. Elias Lonnrot was a country 
doctor, and the son of a poor village tailor. He 
lived from 1802 to 1889. We, as well as the Finns, 
must be grateful to him, for this epic is a wonderful 
mirror of Nature. 



Finland 



CHAPTER VI 

THE LAPPS AND THEIR WAYS 

THERE are only about 2,000 of these interesting 
little people in the North of Finland, and many 
of them trade as fishermen. Your map will show 
you that Lapland includes the northern part of 
Norway, Sweden, and Russia, as well as the North 
of Finland. The Scandinavian Lapps are much 
more civilized than those under Russia. The 
latter have advanced little since pagan times, and 
are scorned by the Russians, who treat them with 
contempt and severity. These Russian Lapps are 
untruthful and not to be trusted, also much addicted 
to drinking vodka, but are harmless and inoffensive 
otherwise. The other Lapps have had the ad- 
vantage of coming into contact with their Scandi- 
navian neighbours, and have taken on many of their 
ways. Although a nomadic race, they are not 
without education; they have been Christianized, 
and become Lutherans, but are more superstitious 
than religious. 

Finn and Lapp are not to be confused. Ethno- 
logically, they are vastly different, though their 
language has some affinity. 



The Lapps and Their Ways 

The Lapp is the true " Wizard of the North/' 
though the British sailor gives the Finn this name, 
and has a strong objection to his being a member of 
his crew, because of the imaginary powers the name 
implies. The Lapps from earliest times have 
assumed and fully believe in their own magical 
powers. They have, and still use, a fortune-telling 
drum and other instruments by which they think 
they can foretell future events. By these super- 
stitious rites they decide the path their wanderings 
shall take. 

They, however, are not the only people who . 
believe in their powers. The Finns have always 
thought them uncanny, and do not associate with 
them, except as far as they are obliged in trading. 
A Czar of Russia also consulted them once about 
something that troubled him, so it is not astonishing 
that they suppose themselves to be great magicians. 
They are a quiet, peaceable race, law-breaking of 
any kind being practically unknown amongst them. 
Shy and timid of other people, they prefer to keep 
themselves and their views apart. They call them- 
selves " Samelats," and their country " Same "j but 
occasionally address each other as " Lapps," as a 
. name of scorn and derision. 

The Finns call them " Lappu," which means 
" Land-end Folk/ 5 and are always kind to them ; 
while the Lapp has a great respect for the Finn. 

FI. 33 5 



Finland 

Once, during a famine, a number of Finnish 
ladies joined together in making a winter home for 
forty of the little Lapp children. These little ones 
took so kindly to their more civilized home-life that 
their parents scarcely recognized them on their 
return, the improvement was so marked, and the 
gratitude of the Lapp mothers to the Finnish ladies 
was quite touching. 

Though their ways are not like ours, and are 
perhaps difficult for us to understand, their affections 
are the same, and it is a pretty sight to see a Lapp 
mother try to amuse her baby. The parent Lapps 
look old very early in life, and become wrinkled from 
hardship and exposure to weather ; but the children 
are rather quaint and pretty. They have large, 
open, round eyes, hair straight and silky, dark or 
fair in colour, flat, broad noses, and fine dark 
skins. 

In summer the parents as well as the children 
enjoy a bath in the river or lake, and when coming 
out of the water with long, straight, dripping hair, 
look rather like seals, as they have the same mild, 
timid expression in their round eyes. 

They are muscularly strong, and, though small, 
are well proportioned. They never get fat ; but 
many of the children, though sturdy, have crooked 
legs. Their principal food is dried fish, reindeer- 
flesh, milk and cheese, rye or barley cake, and, when 

34 



The Lapps and Their Ways 

they can get it which is not often they enjoy 
coffee. 

Superficially only does religion appeal to them; 
morally they cannot understand it. The Scandi- 
navian missionaries work amongst them, and it is 
mainly due to their efforts that they have some 
school and religious books in their own language. 

Because of their short stature they are supposed to 
be the Little Folk of Scandinavian legend. Their 
life is patriarchal, and they are averse to any change 
in their long-established habits. 

As the Lapps live within the Arctic Circle, the 
winter is one long evening, and many dull hours 
must be brightened for the little ones by the Lapp 
mother. She has many exciting stories to tell 
them, of the wonderful giants that live in the moun- 
tains, the one-eyed monsters of the valleys, and the 
witches that fly over the forest without the aid of 
brooms. These tales help to pass the time pleas- 
antly away. The story of Nyawinna, the beautiful 
daughter of the Sun, who tamed the reindeer, and 
brought them from mountain and forest to serve 
and work for the Lapps, must always be the last 
story to soothe little sleepy heads. 

Their indoor life is varied by a game out on the 
hard snow. The -children are wrapped in woollen 
clothes and furs, wear natural skin-boots with furry 
insides, and only the little faces are left peeping out. 

35 5-2 



Finland 

Then, with merry scuffle, they drive wooden sticks, 
like wickets, into the frozen snow, put a stone on 
top of each, and try to knock them off at a run with 
snowballs. They get plenty of exercise over this 
Lappish form of " Aunt Sally. 5 ' The severe climate 
and long, dark winter make the Lapp a very dirty 
person, and this is reason enough for the Finn's 
unwillingness to come into personal contact with 
him ; but the Lapp must keep himself and his 
family warm, and if his experience teaches him to 
do it satisfactorily in a " stuffy " way well, he 
knows best. 

The reindeer is the Lapp's most important and 
valuable possession, for it provides him with milk, 
meat, and skin for clothing, and does the work of 
the horse : three reindeer will draw the load of one 
horse. He is invaluable on the tundra, and no 
other animal could serve the Lapp so well. When 
the reindeer-lichen, which is their principal food, is 
not found on the ground, the spruce-trees must be 
cut down to provide it for them. It takes from 
sixty to a hundred trees to give sufficient lichen for 
one reindeer. This seems very extravagant pro- 
vender ! There are fisher, mountain, and forest 
Lapps, and their ways and mode of life vary some- 
what ; but the last two are the true representatives 

* Swampy land peculiar to Arctic regions, and generally 
covered with reindeer-moss and lichen. 



The Lapps and Their Ways 

of their race. The hill-man builds his hut or store- 
house on the edge of the forest, raised above the 
ground on wooden piles. He pastures his herds 
in the mountains, makes his cheese, kills and cures 
his meat in the summer. In the winter he wanders 
to a town, stays there for the worst part of it, and 
then returns to his hill-side home. The forest Lapp 
keeps to his own district ; he moves camp as he 
wanders over it, visiting every part in turn. In the 
spring he lets his reindeer loose, to ramble in search 
of food, and collects them in autumn by catching 
one of them and tying a bell on its neck, then driving 
it forward, when the others will follow. If mos- 
quitoes are troublesome, the reindeer have to be 
collected much earlier, to be again set loose when 
these pesky little insects, who give them no rest, 
have disappeared. The fisher Lapp is superior in 
every way to the others, his occupation keeping 
him in touch with the more educated Scandinavian 
fishermen. He can read and write, also often 
speaks Finnish, Swedish, and Norwegian. These 
Lapps are hardy seamen, and sometimes make 
sufficient money to retire from their seafaring life, 
their ambition being to become small farmers and 
settle down. They reclaim land, breed cattle, till 
the soil, and become useful and very respectable 
members of the community. 
These nomads must walk on their journeyings in 

37 



Finland 

summer, but in winter they have a pleasant and 
quick means of moving camp, and it is interesting to 
see their long lines of reindeer-sledges moving over 
the snow. The reindeer is a swift-footed animal, 
and covers the ground at a great speed. If all 
nnevenness of the forest-track is not levelled by the 
frozen snow, I don't think you would enjoy a ride 
in the pulka. The pulka is a boat-shaped sleigh, 
and the reindeer is driven with one rein, which is 
thrown from side to side. The quick turning and 
twisting of the track keeps you in perpetual motion, 
which is anything but pleasant to one unaccustomed 
to it ; but apart from the tossing and bumping 
against trees, the skimming along in the frosty air is 
very exhilarating, and a swift and sure means of travel. 
Swamps, desolate wastes, and moors do not con- 
stitute the country of Lapland, as you may suppose. 
The wastes and moors are there in plenty, but hills, 
forest, lake, and woodland make it a country of 
wild and beautiful scenery. To atone for the long, 
cold, dark winter there are the three months of glorious 
summer day, when all Nature makes the most of 
this period of brilliant, hot sunshine to mature 
rapidly. By the end of May the beautiful wild 
flowers are in full bloom ; the birds are busy ; and 
all kinds of seeds are sown. In June the grain is 
already well above ground ; in July it is in ear ; and 
August brings the bountiful harvest. 

38 



The Lapps and Their Ways 

The Lapp finds all he requires in his own country, 
besides many things he does not use, such as minerals; 
the woods give a plentiful supply of game, caper- 
cailzie, ptarmigan, and partridges, as well as de- 
licious edible berries of all kinds, including the wild 
strawberry and raspberry ; while the rivers and lakes 
swarm with salmon, trout, perch, and pike. 

About New Year the Lapps hunt bears and wolves, 
so even in the dark season they find some pleasure in 
their lives. The summer is a roving, pleasant time, and 
the children spend delightful days gathering berries 
in the woods, the mosquito their only enemy. For 
protection from this troublesome insect they en- 
velop themselves in veil-like nets, which reach to the 
waist, and are tied there. Sometimes the parents 
rub their faces and hands with tar, and this, though 
effectual, makes little Lapp a very funny sight. 



CHAPTER VII 

IMATRA RAPIDS WATERFALLS 

AMONG Finland's most unique and marvellous natural 
wonders are its rapids. They are caused by the 
numberless gigantic granite boulders scattered 
through the 1 rivers and the swiftness of currents 

39 



Finland 

trying to find their level. The rush of these im- 
peded waters, boiling and hissing around the 
boulders, tossing their spray high up into the air, 
then noisily tearing onwards, is an awesome sight, 
and not one to inspire a wish for closer acquaint- 
ance with them. Yet they are navigable in many 
places, being used by the Finns as a means of rapid 
transit, incredible as this may seem when you get 
your first view of them. You, however, are un- 
acquainted with the clever Finnish pilot. The 
enormous bulk of these waters culminates occasion- 
ally in a waterfall, the largest of these being Imatra. 
The whole overflow of the Saima lake-system is 
poured into the River Vuoski, a few miles above 
this fall, finally reaching Lake Ladoga. Imatra is 
quite a show-place. Many Russians and other 
tourists visit it every year. This mighty torrent, 
whose deafening roar can be heard for miles, rushes 
through a deep granite gorge for about half a mile, 
falling 60 feet in its progress. Its impressive 
grandeur does not consist in the actual fall of these 
tormented waters, but in the ruggedness of the 
channel and its picturesque surroundings. As these 
chaotic waters thunder, leap and bound over their 
rocky bed, great columns of spray nearly 30 feet 
high are tossed into the air, and in the brilliant 
sunshine reflect wonderful rainbow colours. This 
blinding, white flood throws scornful reproach to 

40 



' t id . t r- *r 

f4\t .'{ V*f--^S 

i ,i 1* -'. ,''/*, , b ' ' I * , . ., 




Imatra Rapids Waterfalls 

the peaceful, pine-clad banks, with, their dainty 
carpet of vivid flowers, as it triumphantly races on, 
exulting in the strength of its mad career. 

In the winter a change comes over the spirit of 
these waters, though their galloping is not stayed 
nor their impressiveness lessened. The pine-forests 
along the banks are peaceful but mysterious in their 
silent grandeur and winter dress. Each branch of 
the firs, bending under its weight of snow, has 
caught the spray, while the fierce frost, holding it, 
has turned it into icicles of every conceivable 
fantastic shape. The banks are rough and dangerous 
with frozen ice and snow ; every boulder is gro- 
tesque with its whimsical covering ; while the huge 
lumps of ice tossed against them break with a 
deafening roar. Though the waters are less in 
volume, they are still noisy, as they grind the ice 
which they bring down against the walls of the 
rocky gorge, sending it gyrating among the boulders, 
to be again shattered and carried on. By moonlight 
this beautiful cold scene, in its awe-inspiring 
splendour, seems to have little in common with the 
joyous Imatra of summer, though many people admire 
it most in its shimmering winter dress. Once in 
the summer-time an enthusiastic Englishman, anxious 
to view this waterfall from the opposite bank, the 
present bridge not then existing, was swung across 
in a basket, the mechanism for drawing which by 

FI. 41 6 



Finland 

means of ropes was kept close at hand. When about 
midstream, the mechanical contrivance refused to 
act, and the unfortunate man was suspended in the 
air over this rapid for about an hour before he 
could be released. I think this Englishman's en- 
thusiasm for seeing waterfalls must have been some- 
what damped by this Blondin-like feat ! Vallin- 
koski is a smaller waterfall of the same kind a few 
miles lower down ; but although its waters are 
considerably less in volume, its surroundings are 
even more beautiful. The Amma-Koski and Koi- 
vuskoski Falls at Kajana, the little town situated on 
the banks of the River Kajana, are very fine, though 
insignificant when compared with Irnatra, The 
rapids of the Ulea River extend for miles, and are 
navigable only by a specially constructed boat, 
having a particularly well-instructed pilot. This 
" tar-boat " is long and narrow, in order to pass 
between the boulders ; high-pointed fore and aft, 
to prevent the powerful currents driving it 
below the water ; also light and flexible, in order to 
yield to chance shocks. These rapids are dan- 
gerous, and the licensed laskumies, as the pilots 
are called, have been educated from boyhood for 
their task, and know every eddy and hidden boulder ; 
so with wonderful nerve and daring they steer their 
frail craft within an inch of destruction. 
I must tell you why this particular boat is called 

42 



Imatra Rapids Waterfalls 

a " tar-boat." In the far northern interior the 
principal industry of the people is the primitive 
method of extracting tar from pine-trees, but of 
this important business I will tell you later. 
These tar-burners had to find a means of trans- 
porting their tar-barrels, when ready for export, to 
the coast, a distance of over 200 miles away from 
the kilns. This they have accomplished by con- 
structing this peculiar tar-boat, and learning to 
navigate the dangerous rapids, which occur so fre- 
quently in the rivers leading to the coast, and which 
otherwise would have been quite useless as a means 
of transit. The tar-barrels, when filled, are dragged 
to the river-side, put on board the tar-boat, end to 
end lengthways, in the middle of it, each boat holding 
about twenty barrels, each of which weighs about 
three hundredweight. The crew consists of two 
men, or man and women, besides the pilot, on whose 
skill and coolness the safety of crew and cargo 
depends, and seldom does an accident of any kind 
happen to this heavily laden craft. The boats are 
started on their hazardous journey first by the men 
rowing over the sheets of smooth water which lie at 
intervals between the rapids. When close to the 
rapids, the currents seize them, carrying them 
along at a tremendous pace through the surging 
waters, the pilot skilfully guiding them with his long 
pole. 

43 



Finland 

The long journey to the coast is accomplished 
in less than three days if a favourable breeze springs 
up, for by hoisting a curious square-shaped sail in 
the smooth waters much time and labour of rowing 
are saved. 

The return journey often takes three weeks, and 
it is fortunate that these strong, muscular people do 
not mind the laborious hardship of towing the empty 
but heavy boat up the rapids again. This toilsome 
journey necessitates both rowing and towing against 
stream and currents, while occasionally the boat 
must be taken out of the water to avoid the gigantic 
boulders, and carried on a hand-barrow for some 
miles. Sometimes people with a spirit of adven- 
ture, or as a swift means of getting down to the 
coast, take passage in a tar-boat, and enjoy some 
excitement, if rather an uncomfortable journey. 
I once had the thrilling experience of making this 
journey down the rapids, though I did not go in a 
tar-boat, but a similar one built on purpose for 
tourists, which I found very comfortable. This 
boat carried twelve people and their luggage (the 
crew consisting of one man and the pilot), making 
a very jolly, adventurous party of various nation- 
alities. We sat in couples behind each other on 
cushioned seats with backs to them. These seats, 
being just the width of the boat, were only capable 
of holding two persons, and, being very deep, the 

44 



Imatra Rapids Waterfalls 

sides of the boat came well above our elbows, 
forming a protection from splashes. With, the 
rower fore and the pilot aft, we were ready to 
start. Some distance of smooth water had to be 
covered first by both men rowing, and as it was a 
bright, hot summer day, this was no light task, 
even with the stream helping them. When nearing 
the rapids, oars were shipped, the pilot stood up, 
and, taking his long heavy pole, steered towards the 
noisy, seething waters, we meanwhile bracing our 
nerves for the plunge. As the current caught the 
boat it rushed forward at terrific speed, and, almost 
overwhelmed with the excitement of our venture, 
we clutched the sides of the boat, as, dazed with the 
noise, we dived into the whirling, foaming torrent, 
which seemed to threaten annihilation. Finding, 
however, that nothing more happened than a feeling 
of exhilaration after our first mile of rapid travelling, 
we settled down to thoroughly enjoy the exciting 
experience. 

Confidence in our pilot increased with every 
dive round the obstructing boulders and their 
eddying whirlpools, which we soon felt were less 
dangerous than they looked. The cool courage of 
the pilot, his stupendous nerve and cleverness in 
steering us safely through these tumultuous waters, 
seemed miraculous. We quickly came to the con- 
clusion that this was the only mode of travelling 

45 



Finland 

over water worth having. The Pyhakoski, or Holy 
Rapids, are the grandest and the longest. They 
foam, boil, and roar for twelve miles between high 
cliffs, with well-wooded summits, the trees looking 
down upon us with calm majesty as we fly past 
them. 

Our long day of fourteen hours' delightful 
travelling came to an end, strange to say, without 
fatigue, and it was difficult to believe we had 
journeyed so many miles. The rowing in the 
smooth stretches of water that lie between the 
rapids must, however, have tired our boatmen, 
though they declared they were so accustomed to 
the work that they did not feel it. 

So, leaving us on the little landing-stage at 
Muhos, they turned and rowed back to Vaala, to 
bring the next venturesome party down, these men 
being employed in this work only during the 
summer season. Regretfully we said good-bye to 
our admirable and worthy pilot, realizing that had 
it not been for his brave self-reliance we should not 
have had the pleasure of this very exciting experi- 
ence of " shooting the rapids. " 



Farm and Pastoral Life 



CHAPTER VIII 

FARM AND PASTORAL LIFE 

Cows in Finland are not quite the " pampered 
darlings " of the farm that they appear to be in 
Holland, but still, they are remarkably well cared for, 
and treasured as valuable property. They remain 
in their warm sheds all the winter, well fed, and kept 
very clean. " Be a cow, and you will be well cared 
for," says a Finnish proverb ; and butter- making 
being one of the principal industries, it is necessary 
that the cow should have the attention due to its 
importance in the life of the people. Cleanliness 
is known to be one of the chief characteristics of the 
Finns ; their dairy produce, therefore, finds a ready 
market, and their butter is famed for its excellent 
quality. In Finland there are almost as many cows 
as people ! The farm-life is a very hard one for all, 
for the children especially, as they are expected 
to take their share of the work as soon as they are 
able. However, they do not consider it a hardship, 
and manage to get a good deal of pleasure out of 
their life. The summer working-day is often over 
sixteen hours long, and never less ; for as this 
season is short, the farmer must get all his field- 

47 



Finland 

labour crowded Into it, so there is little bedtime 
for anybody ! 

Numerous steam creameries are established 
throughout the country, the bulk of the milk from 
all the small farms being taken to these creameries? 
to be turned into golden butter, the milk-carrying 
being the work of the boy or girl of the farm, who 
takes it by boat, cart, or sleigh. These splendidly 
equipped steam dairies have every contrivance for 
perfect butter-making ; they are very interesting, 
and quite a feature of modern Finnish farm-life. 

The machinery is of the best, being generally 
of Finnish make. Scandinavian separators are used, 
and a lad dressed in linen overalls keeps up steam 
with wood fuel. The dairymaids, in their spotless 
white linen dresses and aprons, with dainty handker- 
chiefs tied over their heads, receive and weigh the 
milk, which is tested and sterilized before being 
made into butter. This precaution, as well as the 
perfect cleanliness of the churning, scalding, and 
butter-packing rooms, guarantee the quality of the 
produce. The Finnish cow gives a good quality as 
well as quantity of milk, although the pasturage is 
not rich. They have a small, white, polled cow a 
mountain breed peculiar to the North, as well as 
others. Some Ayrshire cattle have been imported, 
and found satisfactory. 
There is a small island near the monastery of 




SVI 11,J|." HUMMING I HI I OKI M 



Farm and Pastoral Life 

Valamo, on which is a breed of " woman-fearing " 
cows ! They are milked by the monks, and seldom 
see a woman. When they do, they fly in every 
direction ! Their fear is apparently inherited, for 
when taken as calves to the mainland, they will not 
allow a dairymaid to touch them. These handsome 
creatures are black and white a breed said to have 
been originally imported from Holland by Peter the 
Great, and given to the monks as a present from him. 
The cattle, when grazing, are generally tended by 
a boy, who amuses himself by playing on his little 
reed pipe, his music being quite sufficient to keep 
any stray bear off, which otherwise might make 
rapacious inroads among them. Often an old 
woman may be seen sitting by the roadside knitting, 
while her few cows graze close by. Though the cow 
is best cared for, the horse is most loved by the 
Finns, and he repays it with patient, faithful ser- 
vice. Pigs are not numerous on the Finnish farm : 
neither they nor poultry are regarded as profitable. 
The pigs live in the woods or on the pasture-laud, 
and do not fatten rapidly or cheaply, as maize must 
be imported, and is subject to a heavy duty. The 
pork, however, is excellent eating, and tastes some- 
what like mutton. 

Occasionally orphan children are boarded out 
with the farmers by the parish authorities, and 
though they have plenty of work, they are very 

FL 49 7 



Finland 

kindly treated both by the farmer and his wife. The 
farmer's wife is an adept at making all kinds of re- 
freshing drinks from berries and fruit, mead being 
the favourite drink of the farmer and his servants. 
Bee-keeping is an industry in some localities, mor$ 
especially round about Abo. 

The larger and better farms belong to the 
peasant proprietor, who answers to our yeoman 
farmer, and is generally pretty well to do. The 
poor farmer is called a torfer, his position being 
somewhat like the crofter in Scotland, and he is 
often obliged to work for the peasant proprietor 
to eke out a scanty living. 

The agricultural methods in outlying districts 
are still somewhat primitive and peculiar, for, 
owing to difficulties of soil and climate, the cultiva- 
tion of the land is anything but easy for the farmer. 
Perhaps this is why the Finn has hit upon the pro- 
ductive but extravagant system of burning the 
forest to obtain fertile soiL This svedje~lruk, as 
the method is called, is done by cutting down trees 
and bushes and burning them. In the large clearing 
thus obtained the ashes of the burnt trees and under- 
growth are raked over the surface of the ground, and 
in these ashes the seed is sown. Soil treated in this 
way is very productive, and the farmer obtains a 
plentiful crop for three or four seasons without 
further toil or expenditure. Profitable as this 



Farm and Pastoral Life 

method is to the individual, the waste of timber to 
a nation that depends entirely on its wood for fuel 
appears disastrous for the future. This simple and 
easy way of raising crops by burning is an interesting 
and fascinating sight. The lads and lasses thoroughly 
enjoy raking the glowing embers with their long 
poles, for though it is hard work, they do not mind 
the labour, and are just as merry over it as you would 
be over a bonfire. The men and women employed 
in this work are typical peasants, and as the light 
and shade of fire and smoke pass over their faces, 
they make a striking picture of toil-worn, courageous 
endurance in battling with Nature's hardships. 
Some of the implements used after the " burning " 
are very old and curious. The most primitive is 
the forked plough, consisting of two long forks, 
which move the earth without turning it over, 
and the branch-harrow, formed by a bundle of 
branches or fir-tops, the stumps of which are left 
on and used as harrow-teeth. The majority of 
farmers, however, are far above this primitive 
system of soil cultivation, and pride themselves on 
their up-to-date methods of raising crops. This 
they have every right to do, as their barley, rye, 
oats, and other grains are of the best, and their 
farm implements of the latest models. 

Another peculiarity is the process of drying grain 
in a specially arranged barn called a riar. In late 

51 72 



Finland 

and cold harvest seasons the sheaves are dried, first 
on stakes,, then In the riar, before thrashing. A 
curious oven without a chimney* is in the barn, and 
in this a wood fire is kindled, which is kept going for 
a few days. The heat and smoke kill the insects 
which destroy the germ of the grain. This is why 
Finnish grain for seed purposes is so highly valued 
and used by other countries, as grain (especially 
rye) treated in this way gives a quite reliable crop. 
The Finnish system of hay-drying is also curious, 
but effectual After cutting the hay, long poles, 
nearly 6 feet high, are driven into the ground at 
regular intervals. These have eight outstretched 
arms, the top ones being most extended. These 
arms have ends turned up like hands. On these 
poles the hay is arranged, the top being much larger 
than the bottom, as the hay is not allowed to touch 
the ground. The effect is comical, as of many 
balloons standing about the fields waiting to take 
flight ! This practical hay-drying prevents the 
Finnish children experiencing the fun of our hay- 
making, for which I am sure you will pity them. 
The paling around the field is singular, but pictur- 
esque. Long posts are driven slantwise into the 
ground, and an occasional forked double upright 
supports them, while thongs of wood hold them in 
place. As the bark is left on these tree-posts, a 
touch of beauty is given to this quaint palisading 



Farm and Pastoral Life 

by the soft grey colour., which is in complete har- 
mony with surrounding Nature. Hay-barns are 
large log-huts, with corrugated-iron roofs, larger at 
the top than below, in order to shelter the hay from 
snow. Large quantities of hay are exported. Grain 
is sown in early August ; the fields are green by the 
fall of the first snow ; then manure is spread over 
them, which penetrates with the melting snow in 
the spring. All gates are removed from the fields 
for the winter, to preserve them. These are re- 
paired and new ones made, as are all new posts 
and hay-pegs. The boys help in this work in the 
winter, spending many happy evenings in the car- 
penter's shed, making amusing as well as useful 
things with their tools. So, you see, life on a 
Finnish farm has some compensations for its routine 
of hard work. 



CHAPTER IX 

RELIGION MUSIC ART 

IT is a beautiful sight to see the Finnish girls arrive 
at the church door in their pretty national costumes. 
Often they come by boat from the outlying islands 
in summer ; in winter they drive across the frozen 

S3 



Finland 

lakes in sleighs,, to the merry jingle of horses 5 bells. 

When coming by boat, women as well as men take 

a turn at the oars. Often they sing hymns together, 

which sounds pleasant across the water. In small 

villages the boat belongs to the community, is made 

and kept in repair by the village folk, and as the 

people are fond of their church service, the boat is 

generally heavily laden. Half a dozen of these boats 

may arrive at the little pier near the church at the 

same time ; then all is bustle and dancing colour 

for a few minutes before they file into the church, 

men and women separately, chattering till they 

reach the porch ; then the silence is only broken 

by scuffling feet. 

The Finns are Lutherans, pious and very fond 
of long sermons. They will sit for hours, even in 
the winter, in their unwarmed churches, listening 
intently to a deep theological discourse in their 
own beautiful language. Sometimes two collections 
are made at the same service. One is always for 
church expenses, but when money is wanted for a 
special object, then a second alms-taking follows the 
first. In this way the people's alms are kept for 
the object which they wish to contribute to. Often 
the pastor gives out a notice that any member of 
the congregation unable to contribute in any other 
way may do so in labour. This is sometimes more 
useful to the pastor than money, as his principal 

54 



Religion Music Art 

stipend is derived from the produce of his glebe- 
farm, and at harvest-time labour is scarce. The 
churches themselves are uninteresting as buildings, 
although some of them are very old. The interiors 
are large and plain ; the altars very simply adorned. 
The singing of psalms and hymns is accompanied by 
the organ. Some of these organs are rather old 
and curious, the bellows being blown by men 
treading on them, holding on meanwhile with their 
hands to a horizontal bar above their heads. Church 
bells ring on Saturday evening at six o'clock, not 
for service, but to tell people that Sunday is nigh. 
Services begin very early on Sunday morning, 
lasting, with an interval, till three o'clock ; then the 
religious part of the day is over, and pleasure begins. 
About four o'clock parties of people on pleasure 
bent start off in boats, with hampers of provisions, 
to picnic in the neighbouring woods. Hammocks 
are a necessary adjunct, for a Finnish picnic would 
not be complete without them- The remainder 
of the day is spent in swimming, lying in the ham- 
mocks, rambling through the woods, or in any other 
way inclination may suggest. Abo being the 
ancient as well as the ecclesiastical capital of Fin- 
land, it follows that the Cathedral there is interesting 
because of its associations and its tombs, some of 
which, indeed, belong to our own countrymen. 
Archbishop Henry, who is regarded as the patron 

55 



Finland 

saint of Finland, was an Englishman. He was 
the crusading Bishop who, in the twelfth century, 
Christianized the Finns, and finally died a martyr's 
death by the hand of one of them. This pagan 
Finn, after killing the Bishop, cut off his thumb for 
the sake of the valuable ring on it, and ever since 
a " thumb and ring " has been the crest of the 
Bishops. The spring at which this Bishop is said 
to have baptized the first converts is near the 
Cathedral. His tomb and those of many other 
noble dead stand inside the edifice. Two Scottish 
officers, Colonel Samuel Cockburn and General 
Wedderburn, who served Finland well in the 
seventeenth century, during the wars between 
Sweden and Russia, are buried here also, and 
monuments have been erected to tell of their dis- 
tinguished services. 

A very interesting tomb is that of the beautiful 
peasant-Queen, Katrine Mansdottir, who was always 
a friend to poor Finns, and much beloved by them, 
spending her last years amongst them, although she 
was a Swedish Queen. This Queen's story is so 
full of pathos and romance that I must tell it to 
you here by the side of her tomb. Katrine was a 
young and lovely maiden, who sold fruit in the 
market-place. One day when King Eric XIV. 
passed that way he noticed the pretty fruit-seller, 
and, being much struck by her grace and beauty, 

56 




QIRL.S ON THE WAY TO CHURCH, 



Religion Music A it 

he took her to his Palace, to be cared for and edu- 
cated. When she was grown up, he fell in love 
with and married her, this in direct opposition to 
his country's wishes. His brothers and his nobles 
were furiously indignant at the marriage, and one 
of them sent the King a magnificent robe as a 
wedding-gift, with its beauty marred by a patch 
of " homespun " being let into the valuable fabric. 
The gallant King had the patch embroidered in 
precious jewels and fine needlework, so that it 
became the most valuable part of the robe. He 
then returned it to the donor, who must have felt 
very small indeed when he received it. King Eric's 
chivalry was not misplaced, for Katrine was a good 
and noble Queen, devoting her life to the King's 
happiness, though it cost her so much, her life 
being anything but a happy one. This poor King 
was imprisoned by his brother, and, becoming men- 
tally deranged, his Queen was the only person who 
could soothe him, so she spent much of her time in 
prison, too, and when the King died she gave up 
her crown, to find peace for her last years in Fin- 
land. A stained-glass window has been placed in 
the Cathedral, representing this Queen descending 
from the Swedish throne leaning on the arm of a 
Finnish page. Many interesting frescoes by Ekman 
also adorn the Cathedral. One of these depicts 
Bishop Henry baptizing the Finns. These frescoes 
FI. 57 8 



Finland 

and a mummified royal (?) baby, said to be 300 
years old, complete the principal interests of the 
Cathedral. Another Englishman, Bishop Thomas, 
was Bishop Henry's successor. 

It is customary for the Finns to go to church at 
six o'clock on Christmas morning, the church being 
brilliantly illuminated with many candles. All the 
people attend this service, travelling from every 
hut or outlying farm by sleigh or on skis. The 
Finns are very musical, and the Finnish choirs are 
celebrated for their beautiful part-singing, their 
fame having travelled far beyond their own country. 
I heard one of these male choirs sing at a Scandi- 
navian temperance meeting, held in the beautiful 
old island Castle of Olafsborg. There were dele- 
gates from all parts Norway, Sweden, Denmark, 
and Iceland ; and all who heard the singing of this 
choir in the old vaulted hall of the castle agreed 
that it was worth travelling many miles to hear 
such beautiful voices. Their national anthem and 
songs are soul-stirring melodies, the words and tunes 
being very characteristic of Finnish patriotism, 
Jean Sibelius is a very well-known Finnish com- 
poser, his music often being played in England, and 
his symphonic poem " Finlandia " is very popular. 
Sibelius, Melartin, and Palmgren are the three 
best-known Finnish composers, though Menikants 
came to the fore lately by his opera, " The Maid of 

58 



Religion Music Art 

the North," which was played In Helsingfors, and 
much liked. 

The artists, like the composers, are patriotic in 
their subjects, the national .life and character fur- 
nishing plenty of interesting episodes. Finnish art 
was practically unknown before the last century, 
but has made rapid strides of late years, there being 
now a splendid collection of wonderfully realistic 
pictures in the Athenaeum (the National Art 
Gallery) at Helsingfors. Ekman (1808-1865) is 
considered the father of Finnish art, for by his 
enthusiasm he stimulated his generation to culti- 
vating a taste for refinement of expression of the 
romantic and national Finnish character. Albert 
Edelfelt (1854-1905) is the greatest and best-known 
Finnish artist, his historical and religious pictures 
being of world- wide fame. 

Among the more celebrated artists arc Viktor 
Vesterholm, Eero Jarnefelt, Gallen, Munsterhjelm, 
and others, who have pictures in the Finnish 
National Gallery, the people being justly proud of 
the patriotic spirit of their work. 

Some good statuary by Finnish sculptors is also 
in this gallery, as well as many beautiful monuments 
scattered throughout the land, which testify to 
their ability. I must mention the poet Runebcrg, 
a well-known national character. No book on 
Finland, however short, would be complete without 

59 82 



Finland 

his name. On the anniversary of his birthday all 
schools have a holiday, and his statue is decorated 
with flowers and laurels. The Academic Singers, 
" Akademiska Sangforeningen," sing standing round 
his statue, and in the evening have a torchlight pro- 
cession ; all the houses and the larger offices are 
illuminated with candles, and everywhere his bust 
may be seen adorned with flowers. All the 
restaurants have festal dinners, and his plays are 
given at the theatres, over which the red and yellow 
flag floats, as well as over all other public buildings. 
Topelius was a poet and writer for children 
" Uncle Topelius " the little folks call him, for they 
love him and his charming stories. 



CHAPTER X 

TOWNS AND VILLAGES 

HELSINGFORS in Finnish " Helsinki " the modern 
capital of Finland, is a very fine city, with its many 
magnificent buildings and splendid shipping port, 
which latter, however, can only be used in the 
summer, as it is ice-bound in winter ; then all 
shipping business must be done either at the port 
of Abo or Hango. The town is built upon rock, 

60 



Towns and Villages 

and has about 80,000 inhabitants of mixed nation- 
alities, for many Russians, Germans, and others have 
their businesses and reside here the greater part 
of the year. Paul Ludwig Engel, a German, who 
commenced his career as an architect in St. Peters- 
burg, was commissioned by the then Czar to plan 
a new capital on the site on which Helsingfors now 
stands. Engel planned the town with such in- 
genuity, utilizing to the utmost the beautiful site 
chosen, that charming sea-views are given to most 
of the houses, and his fine, broad streets are quite 
a feature of the place. His beautiful architectural 
designs appear to have little in common with the 
recent new school of architecture, which is purely 
Finnish, and characteristic of the taste of the 
modern Finn. The originality of the Finnish 
architect, the ornate and massive style of his work, 
impresses even the travelled stranger with wonder* 
if not with genuine admiration of its eccentricity 
and variety of design. The many new magnificent 
structures are built of granite, brick, and rough- 
cast, and the short, sturdy granite pillars which are 
used, with their heavy capitals, to support the 
buildings, together with the strange decorative 
devices, give the distinctive character to these 
buildings and a strong individuality to the town. 

I must tell you a little about this fantastic 
decoration on the outside of the houses, as it is 

61 



Finland 

strongly characteristic o the architecture, and a 
walk down some of the streets would give keen 
delight to any youngsters looking about them. 
You would observe with amusement over one door 
a procession of swimming swans, or, supporting a 
bay-window, a group of sleepy owls ; a bear's head, 
a squatting frog, or a knot of mice tied by the tail, 
may be found on the keystone of an arch ; oak- 
leaves, with acorns, dandelions, or pine-cones, may 
form a frieze ; the glass panel of a door may repre- 
sent a spider's web, with a fat spider in one corner ! 
One other instance I must mention, which will 
serve to show you how the object for which the 
buildings are erected appears in their decorative 
designs. The shipping-office has jolly sailor-men 
dancing round the pillars supporting the entrance, 
while copper ships are let into the oak doors, 
besides many other nautical and appropriate figures. 
This being the University town as well as the 
capital, merry bands of students of both sexes may 
be seen everywhere, wearing the cap of their col- 
lege, which, however, does not always become the 
women. There are many Russian officers and 
soldiers, whose uniforms help to give colour to the 
somewhat sombre streets of offices, banks, and shops, 
as the latter do not make any great display of their 
goods in the windows, as in other towns. The 
many outdoor restaurants, with their pretty flower- 

62 



Towns and Villages 

gardens and attendant bands, are much patronized, 
and present a lively, inviting scene, as nearly every- 
body prefers having their meals out of doors in 
warm weather. 

The market is held on the quay in the early 
morning. The country carts and bright stalls in 
orderly array, covered with white awnings, together 
with the boats laden with farm produce, which are 
moored alongside the quay, form an attractive 
sight. Market-women, in gay cotton dresses, with 
dainty kerchiefs tied over their heads, serve cus- 
tomers from their boats, seeming quite indifferent 
to the constant wobbling motion caused by the 
wash of the passing steamers, even while counting 
eggs ! The many stalls of fruit and flowers, and 
the bright costumes of the vendors against the 
background of trees and buildings, make up a very 
pretty and animated scene, which is accentuated 
by the bright blue sea in the foreground. By noon 
an army of street-cleaners, with hose and brooms, 
have washed down the whole quay, and every sign 
of market disappears until next day. 

There is a fine promenade in beautiful gardens 
containing many handsome monuments (one of 
Runeberg, the poet, among others) along the whole 
front of the town, with band-stands at either end. 
Here there is always an atmosphere of pleasant 
gaiety. 

63 



Finland 

The Finns are very up to date, telephones,, 
electric light, and trams being universal. Smart 
little droskies, with their pairs of fast-trotting 
Finnish horses in pretty harness, ply for hire in all 
the towns. In these droskies yon must be careful, 
and hold tight when turning corners, for so swiftly 
do they go that you may easily part company with 
your seat ! In winter-time the droskies become 
sleighs by removing the wheels and substituting 
runners. At the same time some additions are 
made to the harness a bell-collar and smart loin- 
cloth (generally crimson) for the horse. This last 
covers the animal, and, hanging well down, is 
fastened to the sleigh, thus preventing the snow 
from flying up on to the occupants. 

Sveaborg, the impregnable fortress built on 
some islands near the entrance of the harbour, is 
famous for the part it has played in many of the 
wars. When staying in Helsingfors a few years 
ago, I was the unwilling witness of some severe 
fighting around this grim fortress. The Russian 
soldiers mutinied, killing many of their officers, 
and firing on all who tried to prevent them securing 
ammunition. Russia sent a war-ship, and suc- 
ceeded in quelling the outbreak. This unwise 
revolt against authority caused much needless 
suffering, for the innocent suffered with the 
offenders. The arrival of boats at the quay-side 



Towns and Villages 

laden with wounded on their way to the hospital 
was a very sad sight. 

Abo is the ancient as well as the ecclesiastical 
capital. Second only in size to Helsingfors, it is 
the principal port between Sweden and Finland. 
When the Baltic Sea is frozen, ice-breaking steamers 
keep an open passage to this important business 
centre. 

In the winter a post-road over the ice between 
Stockholm and Abo is maintained. This is an 
interesting old town, with wide, clean, cobbled 
streets, and pretty wooden houses, with large court- 
yards round them. These latter are useful in pre- 
venting the spread of fire, as well as being a pictur- 
esque addition to the houses. 

All new houses in the towns are built of brick, to 
lessen the risk of fire, and the modern houses rather 
dwarf the charming wooden ones. 

The Cathedral is very conspicuous, as it should 
be, but architecturally it is not interesting, though 
its tombs and associations are. These, however, 
you have read about in another chapter. 

The Castle on the hill outside the town near the 
harbour has been a royal residence, then a prison 
for poor King Eric and others, but is now a museum, 
containing an historically interesting collection. In 
this museum are found sad reminders of Finland's 
army registers, uniforms, and accoutrements of 

FI. 65 9 



Finland 

all kinds, as well as the musical instruments which 
belonged to the bands, now lying pathetically 
dumb, their once inspiriting melodies silent, per- 
haps for ever. The reason of this is that the patri- 
otic Finns refused to have their laws broken by 
Russia, consequently the Czar disbanded their 
army. Nadendal is a beautiful little place on the 
coast, about thirteen miles from Abo, famous for 
its mud-baths. It is also celebrated for its curious 
knitted dolls, which are the work of one old woman, 
who entirely supports herself by this industry. 
Viborg is the nearest town to the Russian frontier, 
and maintains a strong military force. It is re- 
garded as the capital of Eastern Finland. More- 
over, it is noted for its Viborg kringlas queer 
twisted cakes, delicious, though peculiar in flavour 
and every little Finn expects a " fairing " of the 
delicacy when his parents visit this town. 

Tammerfors is the Manchester of Finland, and 
its cotton industries were started by a Scotsman, 
who utilized its splendid natural water-powers for 
this purpose. 

Uleaborg and Tornea are the most northern 
towns, the former being famous for its salmon- 
fishing, which is the finest, and the latter for its 
railway, which is the most northern, in the world. 
The villages are very picturesque, with their 
wooden houses of soft brown or red colour, situated, 

66 



Towns and Villages 

as they generally are, on the edge of a forest or on 
the banks of lakes. The very tall wooden spire of 
the church, the well, with its quaintly carved 
wooden top, stone base, and curious long pole, 
weighted at one end for raising the water, are 
always very noticeable objects. 

Double windows are used in the houses in the 
winter. No blinds are drawn, so that the bright 
interiors may light the streets. A poor cottage is 
always beautifully clean, though there is often 
only one room to do everything in. The large 
stove occupies a prominent position, being built 
of rough brick, and reaching from floor to ceiling. 
The open rafters are used as a storeroom ; the large 
hard cakes of rye-bread, having a hole in their 
middle, are threaded on a pole and slung up there, 
together with dried fish, bacon, and the family 
wardrobe ! The insides of the village homes are 
kept very warm in winter by the large china-tiled 
stove in the corner of each room, which is never 
allowed to go out. The kitchens are bright with 
shining coppers, and the bedroom of son or daughter 
forms a study in the daytime. The bed which 
is peculiar to Finland is " telescopic," and shuts 
up when not in use. The dwelling-room is always 
very comfortable and pretty, with its flowers, 
books, pictures, and generally a piano, the whole 
suggesting an air of taste and refinement. 

67 92 



Finland 

Great precautions are taken against fire, and every 
house must be provided with a ladder, which is 
placed against the roof, thus making a direct escape 
to the street. I am sorry I cannot tell you about 
the country towns, many of which are interesting, 
but mention must be made of Kuopio, as it is noted 
for the horse-fair held there annually on the ice. 
The Kuopio horses are the best in Finland. They 
" go like the wind," being famed for their speed 
and hardiness, as well as beauty, gentleness, and 
sagacity. 



CHAPTER XI 

SCHOOL AND HOLIDAY TIME IN STRAWBERRY-LAND 

I AM sure English boys or girls would feel unjustly 
treated if compelled to learn at least two other 
languages besides their own when they started 
school-life, and no doubt would rebel at the arbi- 
trary authority which obliged them to do it. Yet 
the Finnish children must do this, and much more, 
for they are very well educated, but perhaps, as 
they are naturally industrious, hard study does not 
trouble them at least, they look happy enough 
over their lessons. Although education is con- 
sidered of the utmost importance by the nation, the 

68 



School and Holiday Time 

State does not give any free schooling, and therefore 
education is not compulsory. But it will serve to 
show you how much the people desire it themselves 
when I tell you that, though they must pay for all 
education, it would be difficult to find an illiterate 
person in the country. If the State does not insist 
on education, the Church, however, does, and no 
pastor will confirm or marry any person who 
cannot read and write, so if there were any dunces 
in the land they would be left old-maids or bachelors ! 
Schools are numerous, well managed, and the educa- 
tion is of the best. The majority of these are 
mixed schools that is to say, boys and girls are 
educated together an excellent plan for both, as 
they become good comrades, and have common 
interests, which tells on the welfare of their national 
life and the prosperity of the country. Children 
start school-life by attending a kindergarten, gener- 
ally at the age of five years. At eight years they are 
ready for the primary schools; then comes high 
school ; and later the University for those desiring 
it, or if destined for a profession. Schools of every 
description exist agricultural, dairy, forestry, weav- 
ing, carpentry, and many others in fact, you may 
learn anything you wish in a school, and for those who 
work in the daytime evening classes are arranged. 
Most children are taught German, Swedish, and 
Russian, in addition to their own language, the 



Finland 

grammar of which is very difficult, and, moreover, 
it has only twenty-one letters in its alphabet. Many 
of the children take English lessons as well. I 
once came across a girl of ten years of age who 
was learning five languages, and when asked if she 
did not find it very hard work, replied : " It is no 
use thinking about It ; I must learn them, because 
no foreigner would understand mine, and I mean 
to be a clerk in my father's shipping-office. " The 
school-year lasts only from September till May, 
with a week's holiday every month and three weeks 
at Christmas ; also special days are given, such as 
the Czar's or Czarina's birthday, " Little Christ- 
mas " Day, and a few others. So you will see that 
Finnish children have a good deal to learn in their 
short school-time. 

There are no boarding-schools ; children, there- 
fore, who are sent to school at a distance board with 
families, and attend as day-pupils. On the last 
Saturday in November a peculiar festival in Finnish 
school-life is celebrated. It is called " Little 
Christmas." A tiny Christmas-tree is decorated 
and laden with small " comic " gifts, which the 
children buy or make to give to their teachers and 
each other. This custom is peculiar to the South 
of Finland. Another singular practice is that of 
the " Star-Boys." On Christmas Eve poor boys 
array themselves in gilt-paper crowns and swords. 

70 



School and Holiday Time 

One boy, more gaudy than the rest, is dressed to 
represent King Herod ; another, with blackened 
face and bright attire, is " King of the Moors." 
They carry a large paper star, which is transparent 
in the middle, on which is a representation of the 
Infant Jesus lying in a manger. This has a light 
behind it, and forms an illuminated picture. These 
boys go round to the houses singing, often very 
well, in chorus, asking for money, to enable them to 
pay for their tuition. This is a very ancient custom, 
for in old days, when education was expensive and 
difficult to obtain, poor students often could only 
get sufficient means to pay for their instruction by 
the money they collected as Star-Boys. When the 
fifth form is reached, and afterwards, the pupils 
meet together in the school-house every Saturday 
night, to consider the contributions to their own 
paper, of which the eldest one is the editor. Con- 
tributions must be original, and may take the form 
of prose, poetry, charade, or plays. These papers 
are called " convents/' and their material is used 
to provide entertainment on guest-nights, which 
take place once a month. I once spent a pleasant 
evening at one of these entertainments. First, we 
had tableaux vivants of scenes from the " Kale- 
vala," the staging of which was splendidly arranged. 
Then followed a little play, whose story told of two 
small strawberry-gatherers lost in the forest (the 

7 1 



Finland 

counterpart of our " Babes in the Wood "), being 
very much frightened and in great distress ; the 
animals and birds came to amuse and comfort them. 
Children were dressed to represent the different 
animals, and each did something comical. When 
the bear came, he danced so beautifully that the 
little strawberry-gatherers, as well as the audience, 
soon forgot their troubles, and joined in the fun. 
Finnish children dance very gracefully, and are 
passionately fond of it in fact, it is their principal 
indoor exercise. On these guest-nights scholars 
provide refreshment for their friends by small con- 
tributions from each pupil. Before leaving school 
for Christmas holidays a large party is given to 
the children, a huge Christmas-tree being pre- 
pared, laden with gifts of sweetmeats, and splen- 
didly decorated with flags and candles. Tea comes 
first a sumptuous one then follow dancing and 
amusements, a play being performed, for which the 
eldest pupil is responsible and has been preparing 
weeks beforehand. Then comes the distribution 
'of prizes, which generally take the form of beauti- 
fully bound books. Should the pupil, however, 
be very poor, money is then given instead. In the 
Christmas holidays the young people arrange ski-ing 
parties to a neighbouring farm, with either teachers 
or parents as chaperons. There they have their 
dinner, and dance and play before returning home, 

72 




Ali\tn Stewart. 



f. N ON SKIS. 



School and Holiday Time 

It is customary on St. Stephen's Day to drive in 
large parties in sleighs the longer the train of 
sleighs the better, for the higher will grow the flax 
to make the linen thread at least, so think the 
Finns. 

The long summer holidays are very happy ones 
for the young folk, as they spend them almost 
entirely in the open air, meals being seldom taken 
in the house. These delightful picnicking days 
are not, however, altogether idle ones, as some 
home-lessons must be done for the autumn school 
term. These home-lessons necessitate long, plea- 
sant rambles in the woods, searching for botanical 
specimens, all pupils at the high-school having 
to take back with them to school thirty specimens 
in their first year, eighty in the second year, and 
a hundred in the third year. These botanical 
specimens must be carefully pressed, mounted on 
cards, and labelled with the local and Latin name, 
together with the province and village where each 
is found. These are placed in the school museum 
when passed as correct, with the scholar's name 
attached. 

The woods and forests have a thick undergrowth 
of berries of all kinds raspberries, cloud-berries, 
bilberries, cranberries, and others besides large 
quantities of the delicious little wild strawberry. 
The Finns have a proverb which says, " My land 

FI. 73 *o 



Finland 

Is strawberry-land, the stranger's land is bilberry- 
land, and my land is best "; and this every little 
Finn stanchly believes. A summer holiday is pro- 
vided for all poor children habitually living in 
towns, for at least a month, and often longer. 
These children live in colonies, and in July, when 
the strawberries are ripe, spend their days gathering 
the fruit, thoroughly enjoying their holiday task. 
The strawberries are of a delicious, delicate flavour, 
but so small that dozens are required to make a 
spoonful ! The children do not forget to eat 
largely of the berries, you may be sure, so for this 
purpose they always carry a long pin, with which 
they quickly and dexterously " spear " a dozen at a 
time, then neatly wipe them off into their little 
mouths ! If you are travelling in Finland in the 
strawberry season, you are met at every station and 
quay by these little flaxen-haired merchants, with 
their birch-baskets of refreshing fruit, and very 
shrewd they are especially the girls at driving a 
bargain. They make these pretty baskets themselves, 
by cutting with their small pukko* a section of bark 
from the birch-trees, and weaving it into fantastic 
shapes to form them. This bark is used for many 
purposes by the Finns, and they show great ingenuity 
in twisting it into useful articles, such as a drinking- 
cup by the side of a well, or as a mould for baking 

* Knife. 

74 



Sports and Pastimes 

bread, for baskets, and many other things. Very 
noticeable in the woods are the gigantic ant-hills, 
made of pine-needles, with innumerable tiny tracks 
leading up to them. On these roads you may 
observe the busy little insects toiling home with a 
burden, just as industrious in their way as the little 
strawberry-pickers. 



CHAPTER XII 

SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

IN a country like Finland, which consists of nearly 
as much water as land, and which has long, severe 
winters, when all outside work is at a standstill 
because the land is frozen, the people must vary 
the monotony of their indoor life by active exercise 
of some kind. This the Finns do by indulging in 
many exhilarating sports and pastimes, at which 
they are adepts, finding 1 compensation in this way 
for the severity of their climate. The waterways 
becoming highways, they form a quick and cheap 
means of travel, so from necessity as well as choice 
the people become expert on skis, travelling many 
miles in this way, peasants often carrying their 
knapsacks strapped upon their backs. These ski-ers 
cover the ground quickly and gracefully, seeming 

75 I0 ~ 2 



Finland 

quite untroubled by their packs. It is very amusing 
to sec several of them gliding along together. To 
these people the winter travelling on skis is as 
natural as walking, for they start learning in early 
childhood, tiny " tots " of three years old having 
their own small skis made for them just as we have 
our shoes. In the towns and villages competitive 
races for ski-ing and skating are organized and fre- 
quently held. Boys and girls take their part in 
these national sports, and all schools stimulate a 
wholesome rivalry of achievement between them 
by holding race-days, when guests are invited and 
prizes given. As ski-ing is the chief winter sport, 
and the most difficult to excel in, as well as requiring 
experience and nerve to avoid its dangers, it natur- 
ally follows that keen sportsmen like it best. Ski-ing 
races, therefore, take first place, and are always 
attended by an enthusiastic crowd of spectators, this 
sport inspiring excitement in the onlooker as well 
as in the performer. No doubt it will interest 
English boys to hear some details of this popular 
pastime, which, to the uninitiated, appears so 
perilous. Perhaps you know that the skis are long, 
narrow strips of wood, with leather fastenings in 
the centre, to attach them to the boots. The front 
ends of these skis are pointed, and curved upwards, 
so as to glide over obstructions, The proper 
length for each wearer is determined by his stand- 



Sports and Pastimes 

ing erect with his arms extended above the head, 
and the skis, being placed on end, should then reach 
to his finger-tips. Leather boots, cloth puttees, 
knickerbockers, thick woollen jerse7 and cap with 
ear-flaps, are generally worn to make the ski-er's 
outfit. 

In Finland the little children, fully equipped, 
have their first lesson when about three years of 
age. Balance being the first essential, they are 
taught to stand on their skis, one foot in advance, 
knees bent, and the body thrust forward. Then 
they start off, tumbling, of course, at first, but soon 
looking upon the matter as a game, and, picking 
themselves up ? try again. By the end of their 
second winter they are fairly proficient, and 
thoroughly enjoy a turn on their skis as well as on 
their skates, for skating is taught at the same time. 
All children must learn ski-ing and skating, as it is 
a necessary means of getting about the country. It 
is entertaining to see a party of children start off 
to school on their skis, warmly clad in rough home- 
spun and knitted woollen clothing, a happy, chatter- 
ing throng, keen as to who will arrive there first, 
the girls often being the winners. A ski-jumping 
competition and race is a fine spectacle to witness, 
but it is only when you have realized how very 
difficult it is for a novice even to stand and keep his 
balance on the skis that you are fully impressed by 

77 



Finland 

the Finnish, ski- jumper. The best of these compe- 
titions take place in the Djurgarden at Helsingfors, 
as some of the cleverest ski-ers in the world are to 
be found among the Finns. The excitement begins 
when the competitors mount the steep slope which 
is the starting-point. As the men gather at the 
top of the slope, a great shout goes up from the 
crowded grand stands at the bottom. The whole 
course is decorated with bright-coloured flags and 
banners, and these, together with the smart cos- 
tumes of the ladies and gay-coloured jerseys of the 
men, make up a very pretty scene. At a given 
signal a hushed silence falls on the assembly as the 
first man starts down the slope. Gaining impetus, 
he comes on at a terrific speed till he reaches the 
bottom of the slope and its platform, which is 
raised some distance from the ground. When he 
arrives on the platform, he leaps up high into the 
air, with his feet close together, his body almost 
erect, with arms stretched out in a wonderful 
attitude of balance. After this gymnastic feat, he 
lands, much to our surprise, safely on the slope 
below, and rushes on, accompanied by the cheers of 
the crowd. Men stand below the platform ready 
to rake over the disturbed snow, which has been 
scattered right and left by the jumper, before the 
next competitor arrives. The judge's box is on 
one side of the platform, in order that he may 

78 



Sports and Pastimes 

ascertain the highest " jump/' and award the prize 
accordingly. So intense is the excitement of the 
spectators, as each man comes down the slope, 
jumps, and sails away, that you almost feel them 
holding their breath in readiness for the great 
cheer which goes up when he jumps and success- 
fully lands on his skis. 

The Finns are also clever skaters, of course, and 
in this, as in ski-ing, they have many profes- 
sionals and skilled amateurs. Tobogganing is also 
a favourite pastime, and in every school recreation- 
ground a snow-covered erection is arranged for the 
children's toboggan exercise. Boys and girls are 
comrades in Finland, sharing equally in the home, 
the school, and in the field of sport. 

Though the people often go to market on skis 
or skates, the sleigh is always used when carrying a 
load. It is the principal means of travelling, and 
takes the place of cart or carriage. These sleighs 
are drawn by the sure-footed, fleet, strong Finnish 
horses, with their smart bell-adorned harness, which 
makes such sweet music as they fly along. What a 
jolly time the youngsters have when they start off 
in sleighs for a visit to a neighbouring town ! Half 
a dozen sleighs packed with gay, laughing people 
drive through the exhilarating air to the merry 
chime of sleigh-bells, for this is St. Stephen's Day, 
and it is customary to drive in these large parties 

79 



Finland 

<c driving Steffan " It Is called. Often the back 
view of a fat woman off to market in her sleigh is 
quite a comical sight ! The sleigh being meant for 
two ordinary-sized people, the girl who accompanies 
her to drive is squeezed into one corner, while the 
woman " boils over ?? in every direction ! The girl 
appears from behind to be a large, bright-red toad- 
stool, as her head is tied up in a crimson handker- 
chief, which covers her woollen cap ; while the old 
woman looks like an enormous bundle of parti- 
coloured clothes, with a mandarines bobbing head 
on top ! 

How beautiful is this country, the kingdom of 
Jack Frost, in its winter glory* the trees heavily 
laden with snow, and the ground, in its sparkling 
dress, making a veritable fairy-land, especially with 
the pale glint of winter sunshine on it ! The 
Northern winter nights are exquisitely beautiful ; 
the deep purply-blue of the heavens is ablaze with 
glittering stars, which intensify their sombre setting, 
while moonlight serves to add mystery to its charms. 
Often, too, the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) 
float like flaming ribbons across the heavens, illu- 
minating them brilliantly. This twinkling, scintil- 
lating canopy sheds a soft, radiant light throughout 
the land, which is not quite so dark as you might 
suppose. 

Fishing and shooting are the chief summer sports, 

80 




SKI JUMPING. 



Sports and Pastimes 

and Finland being a fisherman's paradise, as yet little 
known, there are plenty of fish waiting to be caught 
by any young Briton who may be lucky enough to 
get the chance of throwing a fly in its waters. 
Shooting, also, is good, and birds plentiful, such as 
ptarmigan, black game, capercailzie, and wild-duck ; 
or, if you like big game, and go North in winter, 
you may shoot a bear. 

As the birds settle in the trees, the Finnish 
sportsman is accompanied by his trained dog, who 
stands under the trees barking, which frightens the 
birds, who fly out, and are then shot. 

Yachting takes preference with some Finlanders, 
and there is a good yacht-club in Helsingfors, where 
races often take place, competing yachts coming also 
from St. Petersburg and Stockholm. Canoeing and 
boating have attractions for the youthful fraternity- 
The former, however, ranks first with the majority 
of young Finns, as only the skilled oarsman is allowed 
to go far afloat by canoe. Every boy and girl can 
manage a boat, and they often take the farm produce 
to market from their island homes. Swimming lessons 
begin very early in a Finnish child's life, and this is 
as it should be in a land of " many waters." It is 
an amusing sight to see a bevy of naked little urchins 
taking a morning swim. You would think they had 
been born in the water, like the fish, as they dart 
about in the clear, sunny lakes, laughing, spluttering, 

FI 8 1 TI 



Finland 

and talking in their soft native tongue. Tennis, 
hockey., football, and cycling have all become 
fashionable within the last few years with the Pin- 
landers, but they have yet to learn the fascinations 
of our national and beloved game of cricket. 



CHAPTER XIII 
THE PEOPLE'S EMPLOYMENTS 

IT will be very interesting to you, I am sure, to 
hear a little about the daily work of the people. 
No doubt you will be surprised to learn that we 
receive the most of Finland's exports. Industry 
and the equality of the men and women as regards 
work are the most striking features in Finnish life. 
You will always notice that where men are em- 
ployed women are also in the banks, architects' 
offices, railway bureaux, and other business places, 
even in the Parliament itself, where men and women 
debate amicably together on affairs of State. As 
I have told you a little about the three-quarters 
of the population who are agriculturists, I must 
now give you a brief sketch of other peasant em- 
ployments. The tar-burner's curious and primitive 
method of obtaining tar from pine-trees Is very 

82 



The People's Employments 

interesting. Up in the wild Northern interior this 
tar-extraction is the principal industry, but it is 
rather an extravagant process. The best trees 
being selected, all the bark is peeled off as high as 
a man can reach, except a narrow strip on the north 
side of the tree, which remains to preserve its life. 
It is then left to Nature. A thick, resinous fluid 
soon exudes from the scarified trunk, congealing 
into a hoary crust. Next year the operation is 
repeated, higher up the tree, and so on for several 
years, as long as the tree will bear this system of vivi- 
section without dying, the crust of resin growing 
richer every year. Then the trees are felled at the 
beginning of winter, and dragged over the snow to 
the tar-kilns. These ancient kilns are large saucer- 
shaped platforms, having a hole in the centre, 
through which the tar is drained into barrels. The 
resinous trunks are sawn into logs about 3 feet 
long, piled on to the kiln, and carefully turfed over. 
The pile is then lighted at various points, and under 
its thick blanket of turf it smoulders away for 
nearly a fortnight. As the heat increases the resin 
melts, pouring down the central funnel into the 
barrel below, which is waiting to receive it. The 
pine-trees used are about sixty years old, and one 
burning often produces a hundred barrels of tar. 
Throughout the whole Northern Zone the manu- 
facture of tar by this method is carried on. The 

83 ii 3 



Finland 

barrels often weigh 400 pounds each, so you will 
see It is a toilsome task to move them without other 
means than hand-labour to the river-side. After 
that, as you know, the " rapids " help them to 
quickly reach the coast, which is 200 miles away. 
Other useful products are obtained from the 
charred wood, such as pitch, lamp-black, charcoal, 
and wood-oil. Though Finland is not rich in 
minerals, it is one of the best wooded countries in 
Europe, forestry being one of the chief industries 
of the land, and the principal factor in its wealth. 

Large quantities of timber are exported at little 

cost, being floated down the waterways, which are 

the greatest source of the nation's prosperity, 

Finland sends to us from her forests pit-props for 

our coal-mines, birch bobbins for our cotton 

factories, rafters, knees of fir-wood for keels of 

ships, and many other shipbuilding requisites. 

After the Crimean War steam-power was used at 

the saw-mills, which are placed generally at the 

mouths of big rivers, so that the timber may be 

floated down and " dressed " ready for export. 

From these mills comes wood-pulp, which makes 

the finest paper. 

The manufactures of linen, cotton, and woollen 
goods at Tammerfors are very Important industries, 
and some of the finest linen thread in the world 
comes from there. Koski means " waterfall/ 9 and 



The People's Employments 

in Tammerfors, as well as in other places in Finland, 
the waterfalls are utilized (to the extent of 50,000 
horse-power) in manufacturing. In these mills both 
boys and girls are employed, but they must be over 
twelve years of age, and have passed a certain 
standard of schooling. They can, however, be 
employed as long as seven hours a day between the 
ages of twelve and fifteen years, which appear to us 
long hours for little workers. The girls are more 
frequently employed in the weaving-mills, the boys 
more often in the glass, china, and tile works. In 
Tammerfors, which, as I have explained before, is 
the Manchester of Finland, there are paper, felt, 
and celluloid factories, besides the others I have 
mentioned. The superintendents of these mills are 
generally either Yorkshire or Lancashire men, and 
they say the Finns are not as yet so clever with their 
hands as the English operatives, but they are more 
painstaking and industrious. Tammerfors is a very 
pretty place, and quite unlike Manchester in any 
other way but its industries. Troops of mill-girls 
may be seen in the summer-time going to and from 
their work, through the forest or by the lake-side, 
dressed in bright-coloured prints, shawls over their 
heads, and with bare feet. It is due to two Scots- 
men that these flourishing mills were started and 
became such a financial success. A large institu- 
tion for these workers contains an excellent library, 

85 



Finland 

gymnasium, and recreation-hall, where musical 
entertainments are frequently given. Finland is 
divided into provinces, and in many of these the 
people keep to one particular trade, working in their 
homes, all the members of a family helping to turn 
out the finished articles* For instance, all waggons 
and light carts are entirely made in the district of 
Viborg ; while rocking-chairs, spinning-wheels, and 
threshing-machines are made in Ostro-Bothnia and 
Tavastehus. The Karelians, who belong to the 
province of Karelia, are the truest Finnish type in 
the land. These people are musical, bright, viva- 
cious, and talkative. The women show great skill 
with their fingers. Charming in looks and manners, 
they are very fond of bright colours, their costumes 
being often a bright blue skirt, with coloured border, 
red or yellow jacket, while a white handkerchief or 
curious cap forms the head-dress. All of these are 
either heavily embroidered or finely wrought with 
needlework. The men are naturally artistic in 
their tastes, but they prefer earning their livelihood 
by horse-dealing, at which they prove very shrewd 
in making a bargain. They are, however, devoted 
to their horses. On Sunday evenings the Karelians 
assemble in the largest house in the village men in 
one room, women in another to gossip and amuse 
each other. Bears are often seen in this district, 
but quickly shuffle off at the sight of a man, cattle 

86 



The People's Employments 

being the only " game " they are after. Tavast- 
land has a very different people grave, stolid, en- 
during peasants these, faithful servants and plod- 
ding workers, whose employment is mainly agri- 
cultural. These provincial folk prefer black for 
their festive garb ! An elk and her calf may some- 
times be seen when driving through the country ; 
but these handsome animals are becoming rare. 

Very noticeable are the curious trade sign-boards 
hanging out over the shops in the villages and pro- 
vincial towns. Each shop hangs out a picture-sign 
illustrative of what may be found within. Often 
a leather-seller will have a representation of a 
tanned skin painted in bright colours on his board. 
The pork-butcher will have sausages, bacon, and 
ham painted on his ; so realistic are these as to be 
inviting ! A butcher's sign may have a leg of 
mutton, and the greengrocer's sign exhibit a 
flourishing bunch of carrots, and perhaps a cauli- 
flower. A roll twisted like a Staffordshire knot 
denotes the baker's shop, or, if he is a confectioner 
as well, a dish of attractive cakes is painted in addi- 
tion on his board. The post-office may be easily 
found by its sign of a post-horn, and so on. These 
signs are most useful as guides to the foreigner, 
besides being a quaint addition to the appearance 
of the streets. At the corners of the streets a sign- 
post is usually placed, on which the name of the 



Finland 

street Is given In three languages Finnish, Swedish, 
and Russian. This is also the case at the railway- 
stations, where you may often observe the title of 
" porter " repeated in two languages on the man's 
cap. The engines of the trains are rather curious, 
with their enormous V-shaped, lidded funnels. 
This peculiarity is due to the fact that wood only 
is used as fuel ; consequently the speed is not very 
great, but it is apt to be deceptive. Once a foreigner, 
who was in a hurry, told his fellow-passengers he 
could walk quicker, so, getting down at a country 
station, he started off in advance of the train, but 
was soon overtaken and outdistanced. His only 
resource, therefore, was to retrace his steps and 
wait until next day for another " slow " locomo- 
tive ! The railway-tracks in Finland are not en- 
closed, and when the train passes a small hamlet, the 
dogs fly out and accompany it, barking loudly for 
some distance. 

These pages will only permit of my giving you 
a peep at Finland and its people, but should my 
youthful readers chance to visit this beautiful land 
of many interests, I am sure they will receive a very 
hearty and kindly welcome from the hospitable 
Finns. 



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